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Robert Aderholt on support for border wall: ‘They’re trying to smuggle drugs,’ ‘do harm to the United States’

In an interview with NBC 13, Congressman Robert Aderholt discussed his strong support for building President Donald Trump’s wall, which Aderholt called “key” for national security.

“I think at the end of the day, the president ran on building a wall, and you cannot have real border security until you get the wall,” Aderholt said.

He explained why this part of comprehensive border security and immigration enforcement is so important and shared his first-hand experience with the issue.

“Clearly there are some places in this country that people are constantly coming across the border,” Aderholt outlined. “If you talk to the folks down on the border, I’ve been down there, they are coming across. Matter of fact, I was able to go out and see actually in the middle of the night people crossing the Rio Grande.”

While natural borders like the Rio Grande can be helpful, they are not the end all, be all. Rivers can be crossed, especially when the water is low obviously, and other terrain can be traversed, Aderholt said.

He added, “So the president has talked about building a real wall, and I think until we get that – and we’re not talking about people who want to come here legally.”

Instead, lax border security, in Aderholt’s view, gives rise to bad actors.

“We’re talking about people who are trying to come here illegally,” Aderholt advised. “They’re trying to smuggle drugs. They’re trying to come in and do harm to the United States, to try to fleece our system.”

On the other hand, Aderholt welcomes those immigrants that want to follow the law and proper procedures.

“[I]f somebody wants to come legally, we want to have ‘open borders,’ but we want to have them open legally so people are not coming here illegally,” he emphasized. “And that’s why we need to have some type of wall.”

In November 2016, the Alabama congressman believes Trump received a mandate from the American people to build that wall.

“The president has talked about it, the president was elected on that, and I think that until we get that, we’re not going to have 100 percent border security,” Aderholt said.

While Aderholt views “the wall as a key piece” and is urging Congress to fund it, he was quick to point out that more than the wall needs to be done when it comes to the nation’s security.

“[C]learly, you’ve got to have surveillance in different areas, you’ve got to make sure that you have robust [security] in our airports, make sure that you have border guards in certain areas where maybe a wall cannot be built, but there’s so many vast areas along the Arizona/the Mexico border and the Texas/Mexican border that it’s just very porous. And that’s just where people are coming in. And that’s just where people are coming in, and I think that we have to have – that’s where you need the wall,” Aderholt explained.

When it comes to immigration policy itself, he advises that changes are still needed and tough decisions need to be made.

For one, Aderholt does not believe that illegal immigrants currently living in the country should be given a pathway to citizenship.

“I think if you’ve come here illegally, you’ve got to go back, and you’ve got to come here legally,” he outlined. “Now, certainly I believe that we need to have a work program so that people can come here and work. And I think that’s what we need to look at. There’s certain industries in this country, certain ag industries especially, where they need seasonal workers. They need people to come here and be able to work and to gather crops. There’s also other industries in building trades where temporarily they need to bring people in. The forestry industry [also].”

He continued, “So we need to make sure that we have a program where people can come here legally, we know where they’re here, we know they’re here working, but then they can go back if, when that time comes. But we’d know who they are, we can track them.”

Watch the interview:

In contrast, Aderholt’s Democratic opponent, Lee Auman does not support building a border wall, per his interview with the same network.

“[I]t’s a great slogan, it’s not the best policy,” he opined.

Auman believes that more emphasis needs to be put on fixing the issue of people overstaying their visas than border-related immigration issues.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn