SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The congressman who represents more of the U.S.-Mexico border than anyone else says it is fallacy to think a border wall equates to border security.
U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, a Republican from San Antonio, spent a decade as an undercover officer for the CIA chasing, in his words, bad guys. In an interview with presenter Ali Velshi on MSNBC, Hurd made clear where he stands on President Trump’s efforts to secure $5.7 billion for a border wall.
“This fallacy that a wall equals border security. I have more border than any other member of Congress, 820 miles of the border. I spent a decade as an undercover officer in the CIA chasing bad guys,” Hurd said.
“We are monitoring or keeping track of the wrong metric. It is not how many miles of wall that is going to keep us safe. Are we keeping bad guys and are we keeping drugs out of our country? The best way to do that is with technology and manpower. Building a wall from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to keep the border secure.”
Hurd’s interview with Velshi came before the House of Representatives passed legislation that included $5 billion for a border wall and before Friday’s government shutdown.
Hurd said he backed a a short-term continuing resolution passed by the U.S. Senate that did not include the $5 billion. “The American people sent us to Washington to get things done, not burn the place down. We should be able to fund the government now,” Hurd said.
Hurd tried to introduce the Smart Wall Act that was stymied by the Republican leadership of Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy. Hurd said of the legislation:
“It is uses technology and manpower, addresses root causes. What are the root causes of illegal immigration? Violence and lack of economic opportunities in places like the Northern Triangle – El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. We should be talking about plussing up the State Department’s budget, USAID’s budget.
“We should be working with Mexico on this issue. The Mexican president, Lopez Obrador just announced $30 billion in economic development for Central America. We should be partnering with them on that to address those root-driving that is causing illegal immigration to come to our country.
“But, we are not using the latest and greatest technology along the border. A Smart Wall using technology, we can deploy that for under a billion dollars all through the entire border, and do that within a year. That is how we secure our border. That is how we have operational control of the border and making sure that we are protecting the American people.”
Hurd also pointed out that he had introduced a bill with U.S. Rep. Pete Aguilar, a Democrat from California, that addressed border security and provided a permanent legislative fix for DREAMers.
“It addressed some of the root causes in Central America. We have whipped that bill. It has more than 218 votes. We were just unable to get it to the floor because leadership would not bring it up. There are real solutions to this problem. Why this leadership team does not want to bring these to the floor, why we do not want to see a vote, I do not know the answer. But I say, everybody has an idea, let’s bring it to the floor. Whoever gets 218 votes, that goes onto the president’s desk.”
Hurd added that he visited Central America a few months back and saw U.S. officials teaching locals about community policing. “This works,” he said.
Meanwhile, Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, has explained why he voted against President Trump and the House Republican leadership’s $5.7 billion for border wall. The provision was included in the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) fiscal year 2019 Appropriations bill.
“I voted against this bill because I cannot support a wall that is nothing more than a 14th Century solution to a 21st Century challenge,” Cuellar said. “President Trump and Republicans were offered options to keep the government open, which they chose to ignore over an ineffective and expensive border wall. They turned their backs on border personnel, veterans, educators, and federal workers across the country who depend on steady paychecks.”
Cuellar pointed out that if a continuing resolution includes $5.7 billion of border wall funding, the first 55 miles of wall are set to be constructed in Webb County, which he represents.
“This massively expensive barrier will have devastating effects on private property rights, the economy, and the environment in the areas I represent,” Cuellar said.
“We can secure our border in a sensible, cost-effective manner, that does not include an antiquated border wall. I will continue to fight against the wall and work in Congress to properly allocate funding towards border security infrastructure, technology, equipment, border security personnel, as well as economic development in Central America and Southern Mexico.”
Cuellar also issued a Border Barrier Fact Sheet which provides a comprehensive overview of current border barriers. Click here to view the fact sheet.