Donald Trump says he wants Congress to immediately authorize funding to construct a wall on the U.S. Southern border with Mexico, and Dennis Ross wants to help him do it.
The Polk County Republican announced on Thursday that he’s reintroducing legislation on the Finish the Fence Act, which amends the Illegal Immigration and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to complete the required 700-mile Southwest border fencing by Dec. 31, 2017:
“I reintroduced the Finish the Fence Act because finishing the construction of the fence along our Southwest border is the first incremental step in securing our border, providing for our national security, and halting the massive influx of illegal entry into our country,” Ross said in a statement.
Ross notes that more than a decade ago, Congress mandated that a 700-mile fence be built along the border, but nothing has been done to accomplish that. “There is no excuse for this delay because our Republican-led Congress recently provided DHS with $11 billion to finish construction and better secure our borders,” he says.
Trump’s tough talk on illegal immigration and his call for Mexico to pay for the construction of a wall helped catapult his early surge in popularity amongst Republican primary voters last year.
Despite Trump’s promises, Mexican leaders have steadfastly maintained that their country won’t provide funding for a border wall. At his press conference in New York City on Wednesday, Trump said that he wants to begin construction of the wall immediately.
“We’re going to build a wall,” he said. “I could wait about a year and a half until we finish our negotiations with Mexico, which we’ll start immediately after we get to office, but I don’t want to wait.”
Trump argued that the use of US tax dollars to pay for construction of the wall would be temporary and done in the interest of speed. He promised that he would eventually be able to get Mexico to “reimburse us” for it.
“I don’t feel like waiting a year or year and a half. We’re going to start building. Mexico in some form and there are many different forms, will reimburse us and they will reimburse us for the cost of the wall. That will happen. Whether it’s a tax or whether it’s a payment,” he said.
Trump continued, “Reports went out last week, ‘oh, Mexico is not going to pay for the wall because of a reimbursement.’ What’s the difference? I want to get the wall started. I don’t want to wait a year and a half until I make my deal with Mexico. We probably will have a deal sooner than that.”
In his statement, Ross said American lives are on the line in arguing for construction of a wall to begin immediately.
“This is not just an issue of illegal immigrants crossing our porous border,” he says. “This is also an issue of national security. ISIS is looking for every possible opportunity and weakness within our security systems to infiltrate and radicalize individuals to join its jihadist regimes to kill Americans, including recruiting and training those illegally crossing our border and entering our country. We cannot waste any more time on this, and I call on my colleagues to join me in demanding that this fence be finished.”