Diego Rivera, columnist for the Arizona Daily Star

Last week, at Tucson’s own dazzling JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa, the Brian Terry Foundation held its annual Courage Award and Benefit Dinner with none other than former White House chief strategist and current Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon as its keynote speaker. As Bannon took the stage to receive the Courage in Journalism and Reporting Award, he turned his attention to the audience and paid homage to the late Brian Terry, the U.S. Border Patrol agent who was killed near Rio Rico on December 2010 after an ATF gun-walking operation went awry.

After yielding tribute, Bannon, as expected, then went on to vocalize his Trumpian set of political platitudes that centered around myriad issues such as the Republican establishment, the never-Trumpers, the resistance, globalization, multinational corporations, immigration and border security.

Contrary to Democratic conviction, Steve Bannon is not a conservative figure. He is, in large part, a nativist populist who sees the U.S. as a pre-eminent global state that ought to uphold policies geared toward the working middle class.

By that same token, I have yet to see any definitive evidence that Bannon himself, as portrayed by the media, is a racist, misogynistic, white nationalist, anti-Semite. He is however, the executive chairman of Breitbart, a media organization that does propagate these sort of foolish views, which in turn, does depict a blemished character.

Despite the fact that Bannon is certainly not one of the most illustrious political figures to guide conservative principles, nor this Republican Party, the one area where he is correct is the issue of border security.

In its most fundamental conception, it is incumbent on the state to possess the various capacities necessary to exercise sovereignty over its own territorial boundaries, as well as propagate the welfare of its citizens over that of noncitizens. Furthermore, the citizens of this nation, to some degree, should also have a say as to who gets to join in their nation’s destiny. It is ill-conceived to suggest that everyone in the world has a stake in the U.S. This is the equivalent to the idea that Americans, who are noncitizens of other countries, also possess a stake in those countries.

These conceptions are not to suggest that the U.S necessitates a “wall,” but it is to suggest that the U.S. does need to regain control over its territorial boundaries, and stem the influx of illegal immigration, and curtail the abusive practice of visa overstays.

Another political issue where Bannon is thoroughly wrong on, yet staunchly advocates for, is on the separate issue of immigration. In short, illegal immigration is not a desirable U.S. policy; legal immigration, however, is. The conservative stance on immigration, which Bannon would disagree with, is that the influx of highly skilled immigrants who come to the U.S. and make economically valuable contributions, is not only desirable, but a necessity so as to maintain a competitive advantage over other countries. The same holds true for low-skilled workers who are needed in particular sectors of the economy.

Putting politics aside for a moment, if there is one message to take away from the loss of agent Terry, a truly noble hero who’s life ended prematurely performing what he felt was his duty to country, is that borders matter, because sovereignty matters. He lost his life fortifying those same territorial boundaries that help define our country, while also shielding us, and the motherland, from nefarious forces who wish to do us harm. In actuality, it is honorable law enforcers like Terry who, on a daily basis, come between us and chaos.

Diego Rivera is a conservative political writer and native Tucsonan. He works in marketing for a senior living firm. Contact him at diego85713@gmail.com