Rep. Mike Rogers: Building the wall ‘absolutely essential’
In separate interviews with NBC 13 posted this week, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks) and his Democratic opponent, Mallory Hagan, offered opposing viewpoints on border security.
While Rogers supports building the wall proposed by President Donald Trump, his challenger does not, even going as far as to say, “I don’t really necessarily think that border security is our problem.”
As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security since it was made permanent in 2005, Rogers has first-hand experience and in-depth knowledge of the subject.
“The only way we are going to … be able to stem the flow of bad actors into this country on the southern border is to build a barrier,” Rogers outlined. “You know, the wall is the term used, but it’s not technically a wall [in its entirety]. It’s a series of fences, electronic monitors – aerial and ground – as well as personnel.”He continued, “We have got to secure that border, and I know it’s become a political hot potato … but I want to see the rest of that border fenced, I want to see adequate electronic surveillance provided, as well as additional manpower. We are short on all those things.”
Rogers then added that the border wall “is absolutely essential.”
“There is no way we’re going to have control over our immigration process absent that wall,” he advised.
Once the border is secure, Rogers supports an eventual pathway to legal status for illegal aliens, clarifying that this does not mean a pathway to citizenship. Rogers believes that hardworking immigrants who contribute to society should be welcomed into the country, but they must do so legally, pass proper background checks, commit to learning English and not skip over the people who have been waiting in line and following the rules.
In stark contrast, Hagan is concerned primarily about the number of immigrants overstaying their visas.
“I don’t really necessarily think that border security is our problem, it’s people overstaying in our country that’s the problem,” she said.
She wants to reform the process so it is easier for those people to extend their visas and legally stay in the country.
When asked directly about the border wall and whether she supports it, Hagan made her opposition clear.
“I absolutely don’t think that the border wall is how we’re going to control immigration,” she asserted. “I think that it’s a scare tactic and it’s a talking point for our president and this administration. I think it would be an insane waste of money and that we could do so much more with the money that it would take to build a wall.”
Additionally, Hagan “absolutely” thinks that there should be a legal path to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently in the United States.
While Hagan criticized the cost of the wall, Rogers has a plan to pay for a large portion of it. The congressman has already proposed a piece of legislation that would tax remittances (money sent by foreign nationals back to their home countries) and thus raise an estimated $1 billion annually. This would be keeping Trump’s promise to make Mexico pay for the wall, Rogers noted. He is “confident” the president will make Rogers’ legislation part of the White House’s official package to pay for the wall soon.
For the rest of the requisite funding for the wall, Rogers wants to try and work with the president to find more ways to generate significant revenue off of money that would otherwise be going strictly overseas.
Watch both of the interviews below:
Voters in Alabama’s Third Congressional District will decide between Rogers and Hagan on the November 6 general election ballot.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn