Republican Representative Will Hurd, whose Texas district borders Mexico, dismissed President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall as “a third-century solution to a 21st-century problem” in an interview with Rolling Stone.
Hurd’s district includes more than 800 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border and he has spoken out against the wall in the past. Central to his opposition is what he considers a mischaracterization of the problem.
“Yes, last year 400,000 people tried to come into our country illegally,” he points out, but also adds that this is a decrease of 80 percent since 2000, going as far as to call the crisis often described by Trump and his congressional allies a “myth.”
Regardless, funding for the wall remains the yet non-negotiable sticking point at the center of the ongoing partial government shutdown, which has now gone on for almost a month, the longest in U.S. history.
While Hurd agrees that in certain areas, particularly urban ones, a wall can be a useful deterrent, there are substantial stretches along the border where a wall is neither practical nor effective.
“What I always say is building a wall from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security,” he said.
In any case, Hurd points out that if indeed there is a crisis at the border, shutting down large segments of the government in pursuit of the wall is not a responsible way to approach it.
“If there is a crisis, why are the people that are dealing with it not being paid? That’s the first step.” Hurd said. “If you’re dealing with a crisis, you need all hands on deck.”
400,000 people came into our country illegally last year and we had $67 billion worth of illegal drugs coming into our country. We must secure our border, but we can't be negotiating on the backs of hundreds of thousands of federal employees working without pay to keep us safe. pic.twitter.com/XPK7I9HGKb— Rep. Will Hurd (@HurdOnTheHill) January 18, 2019
Although long vocal about his opposition to the wall as proposed, Hurd’s voice now carries additional weight after joining the influential House Appropriations Committee. He is also one of the few Republicans in the House to break with the party and vote in favor of recent spending proposals that would reopen the government without funding the wall.
While Hurd’s opposition is notable because he is a Republican, his point of view is not at all uncommon among his congressional peers along the border. In fact, each House member representing border districts currently oppose the wall, as CBS News reported.
“This is not rocket science. We can solve this problem,” Hurd said. “We need to be looking at the right metrics. Are we seeing a decrease in drugs and illegal immigration coming into this country? That’s what we should be focused on, instead of how many miles of wall. “