As Trump’s self-inflicted government shutdown drags on into its third week, the growing sense of frustration on the Republican side of the aisle is beginning to boil over as the suffering of federal workers becomes more pronounced and the barrage of public criticism refuses to relent.
Republican Rep. Mark Hurd (R-TX), who actually lives in a border state and knows what the hell he’s talking about, tore into the President and his obstinate refusal to reopen the government over the Democratic refusal to shell out $5 billion of taxpayer money for a border wall that will accomplish nothing but allow Trump to squander public funds on a personal monument to racism in the middle of the desert.
While the President and his allies have been harping for weeks about how there is a “national security and humanitarian crisis” at the border, Hurd has declared that all of that is absolute nonsense.
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“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,” said Hurd in an interview with Rolling Stone, calling the President’s claims about some enormous crisis a “myth.”
He also took aim at one of the president’s favorite new talking points — that because wheels are ancient and walls are ancient and we still use wheels, therefore walls still work — dismissing the absurdity as a “third-century solution to a 21st-century problem.”
Hurd is a rare conservative immigration advocate, driven not by racial animus but by what his constituents want — and they want more workers.
“When I crisscross my district, the thing I hear the most, people are like, ‘We need workers.’ Whether it’s agriculture or artificial intelligence, we need workers. Why aren’t we also talking about streamlining this immigration process so that we get people here legally who are going to contribute to our economy? It’s a problem that needs to be solved. I think it requires us to be cool, level-headed and talk about those solutions.”
He went on to explain in detail just why building a wall is such a ridiculous idea, especially in his district, which is about the size of Georgia and contains 820 miles of border.
“Border Patrol’s response time in some areas is measured in hours to days. If your response time is measured in hours to days, then a wall is actually not a physical barrier…
We do not have operational control of our border. Operational control meaning we know everything that’s going one way or the other. The only way you do that is by looking at all 2,000 miles of border at the same time. The only way you can look at all 2,000 miles of border at the same time is by using technology. The technology exists where you can deploy, whether it’s radar or LiDAR — LiDAR is radar, but with light instead of sound — cameras, infrared. You need a mile-by-mile assessment because each mile is different from the next.
The border is not this homogenous thing. Two thousand miles is a lot. Most people can’t wrap their heads around how big that is. These are vast spaces.”
Hurd is one of the few Republicans to break with his party and vote to re-open the government with Democrats, eager to see this absurd standoff brought to a close.
One would think that the President and his racist cronies would be willing to listen to the people who actually live on the border and have a real understanding of what it would take to stop people from making the dangerous journey and crossing the desert — but of course, this isn’t about a wall or immigration anymore, this is about Trump’s ego and his need to win.
What we should do is greatly expand our immigration policies and spend that money making sure it’s easier for people to get in, provided they pass a background check, and add their patch to the great multicultural quilt that is the United States.
It is a moral abomination that we allow hundreds to die in our deserts every year, lock up and abuse thousands more innocent migrants in for-profit prisons, all the while pursuing economic and foreign policy agendas that only serve to destabilize their home nations and exacerbate the pressures that drove them to seek refuge here in the first place.