Too many people are missing the real issue that has Congress and the White House in a stalemate, U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, R-Jacksonville, says.
Everyone in the media talks about the $5.7 billion at issue as being for a wall but the issue is border security.
“The actual barrier is just part of the $5.7 billion,” Rutherford told Eye on Jacksonville.
“For me, the biggest part is about $675 million for non-obtrusive tech equipment.”
Most of the drugs entering the country come through ports of entry but a lot comes in between the gaps where no barrier exists.
It is a big problem: 90 percent of the heroin in the country comes over our southern border, he says.
Jacksonville is among the cities bearing the cost.
Rutherford, the sheriff before being elected to Congress in 2016, said the medical examiner in Jacksonville did more autopsies in 2017 on people who died from fentanyl than any other city in Florida. In 2016, 18,000 Americans died from the dangerous drug.
Rutherford says President Donald Trump is getting a bum rap.
“The idea he just wants to build a wall to keep people out is not the whole story.”
Technology that would be provided by the appropriation, such as $134 million for scanners, increases the detection rate, he said.
Also, there is $800 million for humanitarian aid and medical support, another $782 million for new border agents and $563 million for 75 new immigration judges, Rutherford said.
About 12,000 people streamed over the border since December, and many were women and children, he said.
“It is a crisis.”
Rutherford says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should talk with the president and attempt to fashion a solution in which both sides get something. This could include, for example, an extension of DACA for another three years.
Simply stonewalling is helping no one.
There is already 650 miles of border wall, much of it built with substantial Democrat support. The new measure would add 234 miles of barrier and repair some of the existing sections.
“A wall is an impediment. It slows people down so detection equipment can find the breach,” he said.
Slowing them down and funneling them into narrow lanes gives border agents time to get to the scene.
”The last piece is, put boots on the ground, and handcuffs on people.”
The Democratic leadership’s position appears to be merely to defeat Trump, not solve a problem or protect Americans. Rutherford seems to grasp that crucial point.