U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-4th), says he is firmly on President Trump’s side when it comes to the proposed border wall – and when it comes to who’s to blame for the federal shutdown.
Ratcliffe released a statement saying:
“I strongly support President Trump’s call for Democrats to stop playing politics with America's safety by refusing to fund border security. This is the sole reason our federal government remains shut down. It’s time to end this game and address the crisis at our Southern Border. We must equip our law enforcement professionals and border agents with the resources they've requested – including a physical barrier – so they can properly perform their mission to protect us from the criminal gangs, drug smugglers and human traffickers seeping into our country.”
While Ratcliffe supports the call for a wall, he says a physical barrier doesn’t make sense everywhere. In an interview with KETR just before the November election, Ratcliffe said that although District 4 “is as far away from the border as anywhere in Texas,” this is one topic he hears about from constituents all the time.
Those who voted for Trump, he said, tell him that’s the reason they voted that way. Ratcliffe blamed Democrats for fighting against the wall, but he also says the definition of a wall could stand to be more fluid.
“A wall doesn’t make sense everywhere,” he says. “But where it does make sense is where I want it.”
Along the border, towns like Presidio are afraid they will crumble if a wall is actually built on the outskirts. Recently, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department issued an urgent plea to proceed with caution when it comes to wall construction. The department is afraid of sensitive habitats being destroyed to make room for a wall.
But, Ratcliffe says, this is where alternative enforcement comes into play – drones, subterranean tunnel detection equipment, and even increased numbers of agents, he says, could be as effective as a physical wall.
That said, he’s in support of the wall, where it can be built. He cites the wall between Tijuana and Southern California as “incredibly effective” and says the approach would be just as effective in Texas, if put in the right places.
Overall, Ratcliffe says he’s found that constituents care less about one long wall than about dealing with illegal immigration.
“What they want,” he says, “is someone to address the problem.”
Not every Texas Republican shares Ratcliffe’s feelings that the southern border is a genuine crisis. The Washington Post reports that nearly every state and federal official who represents a district along the border is opposed to his plan. That includes U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, and U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, whose district includes 820 miles along the border.
One fellow Republican who does share Ratcliffe’s feelings is Lance Gooden. The former Texas House member from Kaufman County now represents U.S. House District 5.
He told the Post he would be thrilled "if the president said to hell with Congress on this issue, we’re going to declare an emergency and do this ourselves if the Democrats don’t want to deal with us in good faith.”