In the debate over the border crisis, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., sees an opportunity to shore up a porous southern border and restore national sovereignty.

“I think it’s an opportunity to get some border security measures in place that we probably otherwise wouldn’t have,” said the House Budget Committee chairman today of the developing border emergency. Asked about a specific House solution, Ryan demurred, telling reporters that “we’re putting together it now.”

One quick fix with long term consequences would be allowing Border Patrol to guard lands protected by the USDA and Department of Interior. On those federal lands, officials “can’t even build a road, let alone a fence on it,” remarks Ryan.

This prohibition, he says, carves out “hot spots where people traffic through and there’s not even an ability to interdict.”

The Wisconsin representative believes that changing a flawed human trafficking law must be “priority number one.”

Rather than discriminating among immigrants according to geography, Ryan advocates for a uniform approach that would treat all immigrants as if they originated from “contiguous countries.”

Looking beyond the current crisis, Ryan underscored the need for permanent measures to secure the border. “I think it’d be in our interest as a country to do more to secure the border and there are a lot of things there are things we’ve been working on for months that we could do.”

Ryan’s remarks came after an optimistic speech, entitled “Restoring the American Idea,” delivered at the Kirby Center. Ryan urged conservatives to return to first principle, maintaining that the solutions to contemporary policy problems must come from established conservative orthodoxy.

“If we are to get through our current problems,” Ryan explained “we must do it by our own wits and our own efforts. In this sense the Constitution isn’t a living document so much as a life-giving document.”