CARMEL – Rep. Susan Brooks says the current shutdown of the federal government could provide the opportunity for the nation to address border security.
The partial government shutdown, which started Dec. 22, is now entering its third week as President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats are unable to reach agreement on construction of a border wall.
“I was very pleased to see that Vice President Mike Pence led discussions this weekend with the top aides of the leadership in both Houses,” the Republican congresswoman for Indiana's 5th District said during a Monday interview with The Herald Bulletin. “I think that is very positive. It seems like negotiations has really begun in earnest.”
Brooks said Democrats in Congress requested some specific numbers and justification for spending $5 billion on a border wall sought by Trump.
“I always suspected when Nancy Pelosi got through becoming the speaker of the House that things would accelerate,” she said. “There is a real crisis at the border, and the president, I believe, is going to hold out for a while longer unless these negotiations prove fruitful.”
Brooks said Trump is asking the Democrats to provide some funding for border security. She believes the administration is looking for flexible funding, not prohibitions against border security funding.
“Not a wall or barrier funding,” she said. “I think there has been some movement from the president going from a concrete wall to steel or slatted barriers.”
Brooks said treating the children crossing into the United States from Mexico continues to be a significant crisis.
“It’s not just the issue of all people coming to the border, it’s the massive number of unaccompanied children being smuggled and brought to the border, and the family units,” she said. “That’s very different from what used to happen at the border. Several years ago the largest majority of people coming to the border were single adult males. Now, apparently, in the past three months we’ve had 60,000 people coming across the border. About 40 percent of them are children and family units.”
Brooks said the number of people crossing the border illegally is off the charts right now. That's why something needs to be done to slow down those crossing, she said.
“The country doesn’t want to move to open borders,” she said. “All countries have borders that people need to respect. We know our immigration system is broken and I’m hopeful this is the time to reach some resolution.
“I suggested to President Trump about resolving DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals) and border security funding,” Brooks continued.
She said it has to be a combination of barriers, technology and people.
“I hope the shutdown will be resolved in the next few weeks,” Brooks said. “The president is looking at possible other funding sources for border security. All options need to be on the table. We can’t afford to have a porous border.”
Brooks said people should be concerned about the talk among newly elected Democrats in the U.S. House about impeachment proceedings against the president.
“This past week that new female member from Detroit (Rep. Rashida Tlaib) became incredibly forceful and hateful in her language talking about impeachment in that way,” she said. “She is getting some pushback from some Democrats.
“People should be very concerned, because there are a number of new Democrats that want to push toward impeachment,” Brooks said. “They will push their leadership. I think it is premature and it’s not helpful for the country. Impeachment proceedings always tear the country apart.”
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