In a recent interview with Politico, candidate for Congress Chip Roy was adamant that a wall, or some sort of physical barrier, is needed in Texas to secure the border.
Roy spoke to Politico’s Tim Alberta, who asked him about President Trump’s border wall and whether it is possible to build a wall along the Texas border, given certain geographical features and areas where land is owned by ranchers that makes construction problematic. Roy described his experience visiting the border and explained why a wall is needed.
I was just down in Laredo, down with the Border Patrol. And of the 72 miles of the Laredo sector, how many miles do you think has not a fence, not a wall, but even a road that allows you to navigate parallel to the Rio Grande? Two miles. They can only navigate two miles of that whole sector. Cartels have operational control of the other side of the river. [Border Patrol has] no cell signal often. They often don’t have a radio signal, and they’re being asked to man our border and to secure it.
The result is that MS-13 has strengthened. The result is that cartels choose who comes across the river, and if you try to come across yourself through a coyote, you are at the mercy of the cartels. We’ve allowed that to be the case: Women getting sold and children getting sold into the sex trafficking business; children riding on the top of train cars.
We’ve allowed that to become a broken system that is bad for immigrants and bad for our sovereignty. So what do you do to fix it? Of course you need physical barriers. In Southern California in the mid-1990s, there was no real fencing on a good chunk of the border, and we had over 600,000 apprehensions per year in Southern California. Now, we have triple-layer fencing in Southern California. Those apprehensions are down to the 30,000 range. Now, people say, “Well, it didn’t work: People have migrated to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.” That indicates it actually worked.
Texas has unique features. We’ve got ranchers [who] need access to the Rio Grande. We’ve got Big Bend National Park, where you’ve got a lot of beautiful vistas. Fine, you know what? Start down in the Gulf of Mexico, start down in Brownsville, start down in the valley working up the river. Build fences, clear the cane, make sure that [Border Patrol agents] have the resources they need—cameras and radios and better cell signals. When you get to a rancher and that rancher says, “Well, I need access to the river.” “Awesome. We’re going to give you a 100-yard opening or a 500-yard opening or whatever you need, and then we’ll put cameras and we’ll make sure there’s a Border Patrol person manning that post.”
Roy makes several important points. The most important is that border fences work. After the 1996 Congress required construction of double-layer fencing in California near the San Diego corridor, border apprehensions fell by 95 percent within a decade. As Roy pointed out, illegal immigrants discouraged by the fencing moved to unsecured locations without a fence to find a place to cross into the country. Border fencing does not need to stop every illegal immigrant. Its purpose is to herd migrant traffic to areas that are easier for Border Patrol agents to police, and it’s clearly successful.
Chip Roy gets it. If he’s elected to Congress by the people of Texas’ 21st Congressional District, he will be an excellent reinforcement for President Trump’s policy agenda in the House of Representatives.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Chip Roy is running in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District. Roy is running in Texas’ 21st Congressional District. CR regrets the error.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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