The horrific death of University of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley has brought the real costs of an unsecured southern border home to many of us. My daughter is a senior this year and will graduate in just a few short months.

Like any parent, I have been nervous about her going to college in the fall since it will be the first time she hasn’t lived under the same roof as us. And while I’ve always understood it could be dangerous in some ways for her as a young woman in college, the increase in violent crime committed by the growing number of illegal immigrants in this country has only increased my fear.

America’s uncontrolled, unsecured border is putting our people and, more specifically, our children in danger. And while this is clearly a political issue, it’s an economic, national security, and public health issue as well. The ongoing situation at the southern border is a crisis of epic and historic proportions. Illegal border crossings are at a record high, children are being abandoned by smugglers, women and children are being victimized, people are losing their lives, and crime is soaring.

As such, you would think any administration regardless of their political affiliation would make securing our border their main priority. Unfortunately, Biden and his administration have made it very clear they have no interest in discouraging illegal immigration and only seem to actually care when wealthy, affluent communities in blue states, like New York, are impacted.

For decades, border states, cities, towns, and communities have shouldered the burden of illegal immigration and that was all fine and dandy to leaders like Biden. And, of course, when the southern states would speak out against illegal immigration they would be called racist, xenophobic, or even white supremacists. Sure, all Americans were impacted by what was happening at our southern border before, but it was only after governors like Abbott and DeSantis started busing illegal immigrants to blue “Sanctuary Cities” that our pals in the White House suddenly started to notice and care.

I know our amazing country has a proud heritage of welcoming immigrants from around the world. More than one million people immigrate legally to the United States each year and they bring important skills, labor, and contributions to our economy and culture with them. Legal immigration is a good thing. That being said, like any sovereign country, the U.S. must control illegal immigration and give priority to the needs of both American citizens and legal immigrants. An unsecured border is simply unfair to our citizens and to everyone who follows our immigration laws.

We must advocate for Biden and our elected officials to make securing our southern border their PRIORITY above anything else. When they try and tie our security to funding other countries and endless war, it is our responsibility to say no, to call them out, and to advocate for change at the border as well as in our broken, red-tape-filled immigration system in general.

Our children are counting on it.