Any Talk of Immigration Reform Must Start With Sealing the Porous Southern Border

The outspoken and fantastically fierce Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke filled in for Glenn on The Glenn Beck Program today, Monday, December 19.

Read below or listen to the full segment from Hour 2 for answers to these questions:

• Who is a best friend to police officers?

• What is reality like for police officers today?

• Is it violating federal law to threaten Electoral College voters?

• Does Sheriff Clarke think we should locked down the borders?

• Is Sen. Jeff Sessions a good choice for Attorney General?

• Is there a mechanism in place to defund sanctuary cities?

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

DAVID: Welcome back to the program. I'm your host today, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. This is the Glenn Beck Program.

Our next segment, we're going to be talking to Heather Mac Donald. There is no better friend outside of law enforcement than Heather Mac Donald. I've said that before. And I truly mean it. Joined on the line by Heather Mac Donald.

Heather, how are you?

HEATHER: Great, Sheriff Clarke. It's always such an honor to speak with you.

DAVID: Likewise. And I gave you an introduction in the opening, so they kind of know your background. Your latest book The War On Cops is a must-read for all law enforcement officers, people outside of law enforcement, who want the research, who want the data, the statistics, to fight back in this war on police.

Now, you authored an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend. And you indicate that Trump can end the war on cops. And in it, you say Donald Trump's promise to restore law and order to America's cities was one of the most powerful themes of his presidential campaign. His capacity to deliver will depend on changing destructive presidential rhetoric about law enforcement and replacing the federal policies that flowed from that rhetoric. How does president-elect Donald Trump go back doing that?

HEATHER: Well, I would love to hear him or his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, give a speech just laying out the facts for the American public that policing today is data-driven. There's no government agency more committed to the proposition that Black Lives Matter, than the police.

And that there is simply no evidence that policing is shot through with racial bias or that we're living through an epidemic of racially biased shootings of police officers. And he should promise to, you know, investigate misconduct when it legitimately -- when there's legitimate evidence that it's occurred. And, of course, officers have to be held to the highest standards of courtesy, respect, and lawful behavior. But the public has to stop fighting officers. They have to stop resisting arrest. They have to cooperate with criminal investigations.

As you know, Sheriff Clarke, a detective will tell you, he could solve every single murder in the inner city if he got the witnesses to cooperate. And instead, because of the no-snitching ethic, nobody's talking. And that's the reality that cops are facing today.

DAVID: There's no doubt about it. It's part of the cultural dysfunction that I've talked about, that exists. And it's not all black people. I'm not even intimating that, and you aren't either. But there is some cultural dysfunction that goes on. Like you've mentioned, the no snitching, lack of respect for authority, lack of respect for the police.

Now, you mentioned Jeff Sessions. He's the President-elect Donald Trump's nominee to be the next attorney general of the United States. And I indicated when Donald Trump ran for president, I said, "One of the things he could do -- because, as you know and you point out, you know, local policing is a local issue.

HEATHER: Right.

DAVID: But the feds can't play a role in helping us.

But you mentioned Jeff Sessions. And I said one of the things the president-elect can do is appoint an attorney general who understands policing, who is a supporter of the police, a supporter -- strict supporter of the rule of law. How do you think Jeff Sessions can help and will help?

HEATHER: Sessions is a remarkable appointment. It could not have been better.

DAVID: Amen.

HEATHER: And, as you know, Sheriff Clarke, you have been one of the most fearless exponents of the immigration rule of law. And for people who believe that immigration should be a function of the American people deciding what their laws should be -- not a function of people outside the country, deciding whether they want to enter illegally, Sessions could not be a better pick because he has been the voice within the Senate for immigration enforcement and the rule of law.

But on the policing matter, he's also stood up against the phony narrative that so-called mass incarceration is another idea of where racism is dominant.

DAVID: One of the myths.

HEATHER: And he's pushed back against this myth that the reason that there is a disproportionate representation of blacks in prison is because of criminal justice racism.

The reality is, sadly, criminologists have tried decades to find this evidence of criminal justice system, racism. They always come up short and against their most fervent desires, are forced to conclude that it's a crime that is resulting in disproportionate representation of blacks in prison.

And Sessions will, I think, try to put a break on this effort to de-incarcerate and decriminalize, that is contributing to the crime increase that this country has experienced over the last two years.

DAVID: And one of the things that you point out -- you've done extensive research on, is this theory that you offer about the Ferguson effect, where police have cut way back on pedestrian stops, public order enforcement, I call it, quality of life enforcement, assertive policing, discretionary policing. That they've cut back in minority neighborhoods because of this war on cops and now this fear to actually go out and like I said, assertively police, for fear of being caught up in some United States Department of Justice dragnet, if you will, and called racist.

What effect has the Ferguson effect had on the quality of life for black people living in these high-crime neighborhoods?

HEATHER: It means that their voices are being ignored. You know, I don't blame the cops for backing off. Because if they're told by the most powerful segment of society, which is the media, the political class, the academics, that they're racist for enforcing quality of life laws. And when they encounter this virulent hatred in the streets now, they're human. And they're going to back off.

But there's another segment in the black community that is not represented on CNN or MSNBC. And these are the people that I hear every time I go to a police community meeting, in places like Harlem or central Brooklyn. These are the good, law-abiding, bourgeois citizens who beg the police to restore order, to clear the corners of the youths who are hanging out, fighting, smoking weed, to get the drug dealers off the streets, to get rid of the illegal vendors, to get the kids out of their lobby. And the irony that the cops face in today's racially charged world is that they cannot respond to those heartfelt requests for public order, without generating the racially disproportionate stop-and-arrest data that the Justice Department under a President Obama or an ACLU can use against them in the next racial profiling lawsuit.

DAVID: You know, one of the things that I admire you about you, Heather, is unlike many academics who sit up there and offer these theories, and they write these reports from these ivory towers. They're not at street level. They don't talk to street cops on the front lines. They don't talk to everyday citizens that have to live with this crime and violence. And you have done that. You go down to the street level. And most of these people are too afraid to do that sort of thing.

I want to thank you for the work that you continue to do on behalf of, not just the police, but on behalf of every law-abiding citizen in America who appreciates the rule of law and what it does to maintain some standard that we all want to live under inside these neighborhoods.

Again, Heather Mac Donald's book, The War On Cops, a must-read. And, Heather, thanks for joining me, and Merry Christmas.

HEATHER: Well, Sheriff, thank you so much. And I'd like to tell your listeners to pre-order your book, Cop Under Fire. I'm sure it's available on Amazon. And if not, they should just sign up as quickly as possible because it's a fantastic, elevating (inaudible) to American greatness.

DAVID: Well, Heather, thanks for that endorsement.

Coming up in the next segment, we're going to talk immigration. And that is, like I said, in the first 100 days, one of the things that this Congress, this new Congress is going to have to deal with, keeping in mind that the Constitution says that Congress has the enforcement and the -- is empowered to create immigration laws. The Congress. Not the president of the United States.

The president-elect, I should say, Donald Trump has made it very clear that he wants something done to finally fix this issue of immigration. But we'll talk about that again. The number is (888)727-2325. It's 888-727-BECK. You'll want to get in on that conversation. I'm Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, in for Glenn Beck. This is the Glenn Beck Program.

[break]

DAVID: Welcome back to the program. I'm your host for today. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. This is the Glenn Beck Radio Program. Thanks for joining us. Again, you can follow me during the week on Twitter @SheriffClarke. And that's C-L-A-R-K-E. Don't forget the E. And also at ThePeoplesSheriff@Patheos.com. That's my blog. And also don't forget, Cop Under Fire, my book coming out in March of 2017. You can preorder that now on Amazon. And I've been told you can order that at Barnes & Noble as well.

Call-in number, 888-727-BECK. (888)727-2325. We're going to talk about immigration. This is going to be one of the priorities of the Trump administration. He campaigned on it. On his thank-you tour, victory tour across the United States and some of the other states that he won, that he was not expected to win, he talked about it again. He's going to build a wall, folks.

We can talk some other day about who is going to pay for it and all that other stuff -- you know, the trimming on it. Going to build a wall.

It has to happen. Because any talk of immigration reform -- any talk of immigration reform has to start with sealing the border. It has to.

If you don't seal our porous southern border, mainly the southern one, it's not going to matter. Because you can deport all the people you want, even the criminal illegal aliens, which there are about 820,000 estimated -- you can deport them all you want. They're coming right back.

Some other aspects of immigration -- see, the problem, ladies and gentlemen, is we don't enforce the laws on the book. We talk comprehensive -- I don't know what that means anyway -- comprehensive immigration reform. But when we talk about immigration reform, we have immigration laws on the books that we will not enforce. So part of it is getting back to enforcing the laws as they are written. And if Congress and other constitutional authority thinks that we need to reform some of those, well, God bless them.

They can make all the laws they want. If the laws are not enforced by the United States Department of Justice, by the White House, you know how President Obama has obliterated our immigration laws. And it's not going to matter what kind of new immigration reform that they come up with.

So we have to lock down the border. This is a national security issue. If you're going to be a sovereign nation, which the United States is, then you have to have borders and you have to enforce those borders.

But there's no -- there's been no will. And, you know what, this -- this stuff transcends different administrations.

Republican presidents haven't had the will. Democrat presidents haven't had the will. Democrat-controlled congresses haven't had the will. Republican-controlled congresses haven't had the will. They've always turned this into a political issue. How can they use this into political leverage? How can we turn this into votes?

Instead of just enforcing the law. So there's this estimate that we have anywhere between, I don't know, 11, 13, 14, 15, 17 million people living illegally in the United States.

What do we do with those? We don't have the answer for that. But I know this much, as I indicated -- there are about 820,000 criminal illegals who have not been deported. We need to start there because that can happen immediately. What congress wants to do with the anywhere from 11 to 17 million illegal aliens in the United States, I'm going to leave it to Congress, the political issue. But let's get rid of the criminals.

And here's another thing, folks, I'm tired of the games being played with criminal illegal aliens where courts and others are saying, "Well, you know, it has to be a serious felony." And then other courts have thrown attempts to deport out because, "Well, that's not really a serious felony, like burglary." Yes, it is. It's a very serious felony. Because if you break into my house and I'm home, you're an intruder and I fear for my life -- I'm going to shoot -- I'm going to shoot you. That's how serious this is.

So what they're basically saying is, "Well, you can't use deadly force, Sheriff, if someone breaks into your home because that's not a serious felony." Yes, it is. I'm going to make sure it's clear to the perpetrator, it is very serious.

I don't think it's unreasonable -- I do not think it's unreasonable. If you are in somebody else's country, that you should adhere to all of their laws. You are a guest. And if you're in the country illegally, you're a trespasser. You should be able to deported, for disorderly conduct, for drunk driving. We've had courts throw out attempts to deport a criminal or illegal alien who has been arrested for drunk driving. Said it's not serious. That is -- yes, it is.

So we got to get rid of this notion of trying to parse things here. And, you know, pick nits.

Well, it's not -- no, you will obey all of our laws, civil and criminal. I don't think that's asking that much.

It would happen to you or I, if we were in somebody else's country. If you went to Mexico, they would look at you -- if you were arrested for drunk driving, "Well, it's not really serious." Oh, they would look at it differently.

One of the other reasons we have to lock down the border, to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases.

Remember the flu epidemic a couple years ago? Do you remember some of the other epidemics that hit the United States? There was a fear about it, just a couple years ago. Ebola, remember that? That's why -- that's another reason you have to control your borders, to spread and prevent infectious diseases from becoming epidemic in your country. So it's a national security issue. There's health issues.

And like I said, if you're going to be a sovereign nation, you have to have borders, and you have to be willing to enforce those borders.

Now, coming up on the other side of this break -- because there's many facets to immigration reform. And I want to hear from you. 888-727-BECK. (888)727-2325.

One of the other important issues surrounding immigration is, what do we do with these sanctuary cities? These cities that are providing safe haven for not just people in the country illegally, but for criminal aliens as well. There are laws on the books that don't allow the local level to do this. But, again, we have not demonstrated that we have the will to enforce our immigration laws.

That's why we're up to now, you know, 17 million people in the country illegally. And it will get worse as time goes by.

Coming up on the other side, we're going to continue this conversation. I'm Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, in for Glenn Beck. This is the Glenn Beck Radio Program.

[break]

DAVID: Welcome back to the program. I'm your host today, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. I'll give you advanced notice, or maybe warning in some case. I'll be with you tomorrow, as well. This is the Glenn Beck Program.

Before we get back into this immigration issue -- and, again, the number is 888-727-BECK. That's 888-727-2325.

Let's go to the phones. Chris from Florida, you've been waiting for some time. Chris, welcome to the Glenn Beck Radio Program.

CALLER: Thank you, Sheriff. Good morning to you.

DAVID: Good morning to you, sir.

CALLER: I'd like to first just say, you know, I am a deputy out here in south Florida. And I'm a part of all law officers: Men, women, white, black, Hispanic. Just thank you for how strong you've gone to bat for us, to, you know, tell the public to at least have the facts come out before we're hung, judged, fired. You know, have all the facts come out in all the cases. Because as you've seen on TV, a lot of us have come back innocent on cases. And their lives and careers are ruined even because they did what they had to do. And I still back, like you say, if an officer does cross the line and does do wrong, well then he needs to -- he or she does need to face the consequences. But we just can't be judged right away. And I want to just thank you very much for everything you've done on that.

DAVID: Thank you, Chris. Thanks for the call.

You know, and that's a good segue into continuing this immigration issue. I want to thank Chris and everybody who puts on that uniform and goes out to protect and serve their community, puts their life on the line, puts themselves in harm's way. These people have families. They're spouses. And what they do for this country is incredible. It's been an honor, Chris, and it's been an honor to every law enforcement officer out there to be able to defend your character, your courage, your commitment, your sacrifice as you go about protecting and serving your community.

Now, here's why this is a segue with local law enforcement. One of the things I've thrown out there in terms of immigration reform is, we need a mechanism with which to deputize all local law enforcement officers to have immigration enforcement authority. Currently, they do not -- this is going to be a big issue because the local law enforcement officer comes across these individuals on a daily basis.

Let's be frank, ladies and gentlemen, immigration and customs enforcement don't have the bodies, they're not in these neighborhoods, they're not doing traffic stops, they're not investigating crimes where they're coming across these individuals. The local law enforcement officer does not have the authority currently to detain these people for potential -- for potentially being in the country illegally. They can notify ICE. We can notify them. But we can't hold them, unless ICE puts a detainer on.

So here's how this works: If I go and make a traffic stop -- I'm investigating a traffic violation. I'm not investigating whether this person is in the country illegally or not. And all of a sudden, you come across an individual with no driver's license. You come across an individual who has no identification and he or she can't even speak the English language, at least not fluently, it doesn't mean necessarily they're in the country illegally. But that is called a red flag.

So what we would do in that instance -- what I would do -- let me talk about what I would do. Don't forget, I've been doing this -- I'm in my 39th year. I never tell people I've seen it all because every time I start to believe that I have, I see something that I haven't seen before.

But I will say this about my 39 years in serving my community and wearing my community's uniform, I've seen a lot. So what we would do in that situation is you'd call a bilingual officer, someone who speaks Spanish. Say, come over and interpret. And you start asking a few questions: Where do you work? Where do you live?

You try to find known associates. So you're just asking some probing questions. You aren't doing any immigration enforcement. But you're allowed to ask those questions of a law enforcement officer. Because don't forget, you're going to write a citation, and the person has no identification. How do you know who this person is?

So what we would do is make some determination -- you may haul them in, on a summary arrest, because they don't have ID. So you take them in for fingerprints so you can identify them. So you can write the citation.

We are not enforcing immigration up to this point. Now, what we can do is notify immigration and customs enforcement and we can say, "We've got an individual here when we suspect may be in the country illegally. We don't have -- we still don't have the authority to detain them." Now, ICE gets to make that determination.

They'll ask a few questions. They'll do some initial digging. And they'll say, "We're going to put a detainer on that individual." Now the local jail has the authority to detain this person under that lawful detainer. Now, they don't have to.

Because the feds can't force -- the locals, the local law enforcement, local communities to enforce immigration, but I do in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I've been a part of a couple of those initiatives. Secure communities. We cooperate with ICE. We don't enforce immigration. We don't have the authority.

But I'll -- I'll detain. They're not doing California. That's why Kate Steinle is dead. You remember that case. The one that capitulated the immigration issue for Donald Trump.

That guy had been deported five or six times. Back in the country. In and out of jail. The sheriff of the San Francisco area wouldn't honor the detainers. So these guys go back on the street to commit crimes, to commit more crimes.

So we want to secure communities. I would hold -- I still hold them today. If ICE puts on a detainer, I hold that. Yeah, I get blasted politically in Milwaukee County. I don't care about that. I care about law-abiding citizens. I care about doing my job. Which is, what? To enforce the law.

So I cooperate with ICE. But I think it would go a long way if we would give deputize -- and ICE would have to do that. Federal government. Deputize local law enforcement so we could start asking these questions, looking at whether this person is in the country illegally or not. Currently, we can't do that.

I think it would go a long way. So, you know, there's many facets. But the sanctuary city deal, totally out of hand. San Francisco is one. There's many cities, all run by Democrats, liberal Democrats. What I mean by that, their mayors, their city councils, who make it clear, "We're going to provide a safe harbor, a safe haven for people who are in the country illegally." Guess what, there's a federal law that says you can't do that.

And I've talked about it. It's under 8USC1324, which in part contains criminal sanctions for any person who knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to or entered or remains in the United States, in violation of law, in attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection such alien in any place, including any building or in subsection. Four, encourages or induces an alien to come, enter, or reside in the United States.

That's what sanctuary cities are doing. They're saying, "Come here. We'll provide you safe haven." Safe haven.

Knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to or entry or residents, is or will be in violation of the law, engages in any conspiracy to commit any of the preceding acts, shall be fined and imprisoned for up to five or ten years -- five to ten years.

These sanctuary cities -- these mayors, these city councils who are proclaiming a sanctuary city, they are in violation of 8USC1324. But, folks, remember. Remember what I said: We don't have the will. We don't have the will -- this law is already in the books. Congress doesn't even have to add nothing to this. But where is the will? What about the rule of law?

I'll tell you right now, this happens on college campuses -- there's some university recently where the president said, "We're not going to enforce immigration in terms of -- of illegal aliens coming on to our campuses and enrolling in our schools. They're in violation of 8USC1324."

I'll tell you right now, the first university president, the first mayor, the first city council president that is prosecuted under 8USC1324, I'm telling you right now, within a year, these sanctuary cities would shut down.

It would serve as a deterrent. But they them their nose because they know there's no will on the part of the federal government, the United States Department of Justice, the attorney general of the United States. They know there's no will to enforce this.

See, this to me is the biggest aspect of any kind of immigration reform. You can come up, as I said, with all of the reform you want, you don't have the will to enforce it -- enforce the border, deport criminal illegal aliens and other persons that we learn are in the country illegally -- we're not talking about roundups. You can't round up 17 million people, but you can put things in place to discourage this.

We have to zero tolerance, zero tolerance at the federal level to enter into the United States illegally and set up residence. Zero tolerance. And when we do this, people will stop coming over. They'll stop crossing the borders. You don't have to round up and deport 17 million people.

When you force employers -- here's another aspect, when you force employers under E-Verify -- right now, E-Verify is voluntary. So the federal government sets up this program where employers can run these names through to see if the person is in the country legally before they employ them. But it's a voluntary system. You have to have it mandatory.

How do you? Well, when you find some business that in large numbers -- I'm not talking about one person that slipped through the net, that in large numbers are employing illegal aliens knowingly and they haven't checked with E-Verify, you hammer them. There are sanctions for that.

Once again, we come back to this -- we have plenty of laws on the books to fix this immigration issue, but we don't have the will.

So another thing that I would recommend is to make the E-Verify system mandatory. And like I said, well, how do you mandatory that employers are going to do it? Well, when you find out that they've employed somebody who is in the country illegally, massive fines. Massive fines. You don't have to arrest anybody. Massive fines for that company or corporation. This stuff would stop yesterday.

When the federal government sends the signal that we're not doing this anymore, we're not going to allow you to do it anymore, because we are a sovereign nation. Like I said, this is a national security issue. This is a domestic security issue. This is a public health issue.

We're going to continue this on the other side of the break. I'm Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke in for Glenn Beck. This is the Glenn Beck Program.

[break]

DAVID: Thanks for joining us. Thanks for staying with us today. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. We're talking immigration. Something the new Congress is going to have to take up and many facets that are involved and what it might look like. Let's go to the phones. Mike in Missouri, you're on the Glenn Beck Program. Mike, are you there?

CALLER: Hey, Sheriff, thanks for having me.

DAVID: My pleasure.

CALLER: You know, I just wanted to mention it. You kind of touched on it a little bit, because you keep talking about that we don't enforce the law. And I think the main thing it comes down to is accountability. And it's something that's not mentioned enough because there is no accountability.

But I think Trump's already demonstrated that he believes in a top-down leadership, you know, with an open door. And I don't think you can go to the cities themselves. But, you know, there's nothing to say that he can't lean on the governor which leans on the county seat, which, you know, maybe pulls in a senator from that district and goes to these cities and be like, "You know, this is what the deal is. And we're going to bring in -- I don't know the rule of law that you were discussing. I don't know if it would be like a U.S. Marshal that would enforce them or if the FBI would come in and enforce them.

But like you said, as soon as we get one person arrested or prosecuted for harboring an illegal, I think things will change. But there's no will because there's no accountability. No one comes to these local sheriffs or these local city mayors and says, "Hey, this is what you have to do, or you're going to have consequences." And no one holds anyone accountable anymore. And I think that's where the lack of will came from.

DAVID: Without a doubt. Mike, thanks for the call. Without a doubt, there's no will to enforce the law. But here's how you deal with sanctuary cities: Defund them. There is a mechanism. We might get into that coming up after the next break. We're going to continue this. 888-727-BECK.

Defunding sanctuary cities. There's a mechanism in place. Again, like I said, and Mike touched on it, we have what we need. There's no will to enforce it. I mean, like I said, these are national security issues, domestic security issues. You have public health implications involved in this sort of thing. They have to get their arms around this now.

I'm Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke in for Glenn Beck. This is the Glenn Beck Radio Program. Stay with us.

Featured Image: The Rio Grande flows along the U.S.-Mexico border on August 16, 2016 near Roma, Texas. Border security has become a main issue in the U.S. Presidential campaign, as Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has promised to build a wall, at Mexico's expense to fortify the U.S.-Mexico border. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

Get tickets and learn more about the event here.

The general sale period will be Friday, August 16 at 10:00 AM MDT. Stay tuned to for updates. We look forward to sharing in the Christmas spirit with you!