Millions of American citizens have been directly and indirectly impacted by the federal government’s lack of direction and selective enforcement of our immigration laws. There is one message both elected Democrats and Republicans have agreed upon and been consistent with and that is improved security at our southern border is essential and necessary for the safety and security of our communities. A view shared by the brave men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol who work hard to keep us safe.


Prior to the election of President Trump, many Democrats strongly supported the concept of a border wall. Since being elected in 2014 and prior to the election of President Trump and as a member of the National Sheriff’s Association’s Immigration Committee, I have spoken many times concerning the flow of heroin and other opioids crossing our border between Mexico and the United States, creeping into our neighborhoods and killing thousands of our friends and family members each year. Last year in Harford County, heroin and fentanyl took the lives of 82 people. Over 90 percent of these substances flooded across our southern border.

Securing our southern border is essential to public safety across our nation. American families are destroyed and lives ruined by uncontrolled, illegal migration and the pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs — including heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. Building a border wall will put a stop to the “free flow” of poison being injected into our country and into our communities.

I have also had the heartbreaking opportunity to personally meet with many Angel Families, families who have lost loved ones at the hands of criminal illegal aliens. These are individuals who were not only illegally in our country, but also made the choice not to respect our laws which have developed over time to address those acts considered harmful to social order. As a result of their actions, innocent Americans have unnecessarily and avoidably lost their lives, leaving behind families and loved ones who will forever grieve their loss. This is not acceptable. This is avoidable.

I support President Trump’s address to the American people regarding the need for the immediate funding and construction of a border wall. As I care about public safety and not semantics, I do not care if it is called a “wall” so long as it is a real barrier that truly and effectively protects our southern border and the citizens of this country from those who have disregarded the rule of law. Accordingly, I call on our members of Congress from the state of Maryland to support the president’s request for funding.

Jeffrey Gahler, Harford County sheriff

Operation Christmas Child gives thanks to county residents

Dear editor,

I am writing to thank Harford County residents for sharing the true meaning of Christmas with children in need this holiday season. The generosity of Harford County and the North Eastern Area Team enabled us to exceed our goal by collecting 6,803 shoebox gifts for Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse.

Through shoeboxes — packed with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items — Harford County volunteers brought smiles to the faces of children around the world affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine. Each gift-filled shoebox is a tangible expression of God’s love, and it is often the first gift these children have ever received. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 157 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

It’s not too late for people to make a difference. Though Harford County drop-off locations are closed until November 2019, anyone can still be a part of this life-changing project by conveniently packing a personalized shoebox gift online at samaritanspurse.org/buildonline. Participants can also challenge others to pack boxes online with them or use a shoebox gift card to share the opportunity with friends and family. Information about year-round volunteer opportunities can also be found on the website or by calling 410-772-7360.

Thank you again to everyone who participated in this global project — many who do so year after year. These simple gifts, packed with love, send a message to children worldwide that they are loved and not forgotten.


Barb Linkous, Pylesville

Area Coordinator

Operation Christmas Child