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Montana's state legislature recently began its 2019 session.

The first bill presented by the Senate President proposed $8 million dollars to help build the wall at the southern border. Immediately, red flags went up throughout Montana criticizing the GOP leader for suggesting Montana spend taxpayers’ money on an issue that had nothing to do with Montana.

There is no question that border states are directly affected by illegal immigration and consistently deal with its ramifications. But Article IV, Section 4 of the US Constitution reads: "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion."

Furthermore, the sovereignty of the United States is clarified by the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. It reads: "We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States."

Critics of the Montana proposal should read this preamble. The crisis at the southern border has to do with Montana and every state in the Union.

From Delaware, the first state to ratify the Constitution, to New Hampshire, guaranteeing its passage, a total of 13 heterogeneous states joined together to create one cohesive nation (E Pluribus Unum - Out of Many, One.) The Civil War was fought to preserve the Union.

Americans have a long history of helping one another when disaster strikes. This should inspire every state to support the current difficulties facing the border states. When south eastern states devastated by hurricanes reached out for help, Montana sent volunteers to answer the call. During California’s recent fires, Montana sent fire fighters and first responders eager to help. Throughout our rich history, there have been many examples of Montana stepping up to the plate in order to come to the aid of another state. It’s what we do as Montanans, as Americans. So what’s the problem? Why the hesitation to support the southern border?

America annually welcomes over one million new citizens, ranking first in legal immigration. But all of us had better realize that the thousands coming in caravans across Mexico are not going to settle only in the states along the border. Members of these caravans will be infiltrating all 50 states. Every state government will be forced to deal with the burdens they create. Demands on our schools, medical services, the job market and housing will all be affected. Critics, who ignore the border crises or think it isn’t their problem, had better wake up. All these issues cross state lines.

When thousands illegally cross the border, we have no way to assess their intent. We know some smuggle drugs, are human traffickers, gang members or potential terrorists. This should make the border crisis of imminent importance.

Although this crisis initially involves the southern border, it will eventually impact every one of our 50 states, and that includes Montana. So, let us be willing to stand up and be counted for all of America. We are one of the 50. What a privilege and what a responsibility.

— Gary and Joan Carlson, Victor