NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.) told PJM he “absolutely” supports Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the border to deter illegal immigration and drug smuggling.
“I absolutely agree with that, and we actually had a bill on the floor a year ago to begin the process of building a wall. Now, as many people have mentioned, there are parts that have natural barriers — mountains and things — but obviously parts of it need a wall. We need border security,” Mooney said during an interview with PJM at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday.
“We had a border security bill. It was on the floor a year ago. It’s been taken off the floor and, frankly, I’ve been asking around when we are going to bring that bill back because border security is something Republicans and Democrats agree with. So we can pass the bill now — at least in the House — and lead on the issue,” he added.
Mooney, the first Latino U.S. representative elected from West Virginia, was asked how he responds to critics who argue that building a wall along the border would send a message that the U.S. is not accepting.
“What makes this country great is the rule of law and constitutional rights, free markets but the rule of law. The Constitution provides everyone equal rights, and so the country has a right to decide who comes and who goes and if we are going to have a rule of law we have to go by the law,” he said.
“Critics can say what they want. Most countries have laws on immigration, and so we have a law and we need to enforce it and you enforce it by border security — that’s one of the ways to enforce it,” he added.
Mooney, who serves on the House committees on Natural Resources and the Budget, has endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for president.
“I think he’s a consistent conservative and will do what he says down there,” he said, referring to the border.
PJM asked Mooney if he thinks Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has earned fewer delegates than Cruz, should leave the race.
“A bunch of candidates run. They can decide for themselves when to get out and when to stay in. We have a primary process and you support the nominee at the end of that process,” he said.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who recently endorsed Trump, was also asked if he agrees with Trump’s proposal to build a border wall.
“We have a double border fence in San Diego that works. We have a double border fence in San Diego with a high-speed road in it that goes 15 miles inland from the coast in San Diego, so yeah, of course, because that’s the only one that works,” he responded. “So go down to San Diego and take a look at that one because it totally works.”