Securing the border was one of President-elect Donald Trump’s top campaign platforms, and outgoing Republican Study Committee Chairman Bill Flores is ready to make that goal a reality.
While the Republican Party has an ambitious agenda laid out for 2017, Flores said there are four policy areas he hopes they can tackle early on — repealing and replacing Obamacare, tax reform, fixing the regulatory environment and restoring the country’s national security. Flores said he’s excited to get things moving in Washington, especially after hearing Vice President-elect Mike Pence lay out the administration’s priorities in a speech last week, adding he’s confident Trump’s selection to head the Department of Homeland Security, former Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, is more than qualified for the position.
“What I’d like to see, first of all, is the commitment, and Donald Trump has been absolutely clear that we are going to have a renewed sense of border security,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “And if you look at his cabinet appointees, we’ve got a former general that’s going to run Homeland Security, so that’s good.”
Trump has been vocal about his plans to construct a wall along on the southern border, which has been met with some pushback from proponents of taking a more lax immigration approach. But Flores said once the commitment is made, Republicans envision a defense system along the border strong enough to keep bad actors, such as drug cartels and terrorist, out.
“We need a commitment, number one, and the other pieces will come together as we move forward — in some areas we are going to have a wall, in other areas where it’s less feasible to have a wall, then you’ll have a virtual wall that consists of airborne observation resources, censors, boots on the ground everywhere — whether there’s a physical wall or a virtual wall — then you’ll need to have intelligence assets to control the border,” he said. “So, that’s what I see, a holistic approach to border security.”
A number of top GOP lawmakers — including House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Florida Rep. Dennis Ross, who sits on Trump’s transition team — have suggested the wall would consist of a combination of both brick-and-mortar components and other surveillance tactics that work with area’s terrain.
Trump made it clear he plans to take a hard line on immigration, reiterating that his administration will not tolerate illegal immigrants crossing over the borders or rising in the country if they have a criminal history.
The U.S.-Mexican border spans roughly 2,000 miles, including a large part of the Rio Grande River.