News & Politics

GOP Congressman: ‘I Don’t Know How’ Trump Would Close the Border

Immigrants from Central America reach the border in Tijuana, Mexico, to seek asylum in the United States on April 29, 2018. (Kyodo via AP)

WASHINGTON – House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told PJM that Mexico could do more to stop the flow of illegal immigration into the U.S. but that Congress should take action to address the “tremendous crisis” on the southern border.

McCarthy, who has advocated for adding more physical barriers along the border, was asked if he supports the president’s pledge to close the southern border if Mexico doesn’t do more to halt illegal immigration.

“I support the president on trying to secure our border. What we see right now is a tremendous crisis. We had more than 100,000 individuals illegally crossing the border. We have a challenge at this border especially when it comes to what you’re finding. I was just down in El Paso, a number of people claiming asylum when 80 percent of them go to the courts and find out that’s not the case,” McCarthy said on Thursday.

“Asylum should be claimed back in the country that they are. The real challenge is when you come to America you’ve probably passed a couple of other countries beforehand. I think Mexico could do more but more importantly Congress can do more. We should take these provisions up and actually be able to secure our border and that’s the thing the president is fighting for,” he added.

Last year, then-Mexican Ambassador to the United States Gerónimo Gutiérrez said Mexico does not have a “border patrol” along the U.S.-Mexico border but Mexican federal police work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials to combat illegal activity.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, was also asked if he supports Trump’s threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We need E-Verify, for example. Why don’t we have E-Verify? 13 percent of the businesses in this country use E-Verify. That takes a major part of the incentive out of coming here and working illegally where people are exploited as well,” Smith said.

“I’m not sure there’s ever going to be a border closing but, I mean, I don’t know how you would do that but I think we need to have an orderly flow of refugees where their well-founded fear of persecution and have a good number for legal immigration. It begs the question — we need to look at our whole immigration policy with an eye towards making legal immigration more usable,” he added.