Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) is lashing out at President Donald Trump’s border “crisis” as a “myth” and calling his border wall strategy ancient. Hurd has a pretty good idea of what’s what. His district includes 820 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Hurd characterized Trump’s wall as a “third-century solution to a 21st-century problem” in an interview with Rolling Stone published Friday.
“What I always say is building a wall from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security,” Hurd said. The congressman believes that while barriers are useful in urban areas, walls are useless in remote areas where it takes border patrol agents hours or even days to respond to a breach.
The congressman has spoken out previously against the wall, but he now has a new role on the House Appropriations Committee where he can wield some significant extra clout, and was eager to detail all the problems he has with the wall in this interview.
All nine representatives who represent border areas in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California oppose the wall, but Hurd is the only Republican. (Only two senators in all of those states — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) — support the wall.)
Hurd pointed out that the situation can’t be so dire, otherwise it would have been far too dangerous for Trump to shut down the government and stop paying border patrol agents.
He conceded that while there is a “crisis” in the amount of drugs being smuggled into the country, border towns in Texas are among the safest in the nation.
Something not often discussed by Trump is the inevitable controversy that would arise if the government seizes property under eminent domain to build a wall. Hurd estimates that 1,000 property owners in his district alone would be affected.
“There’s a thing in Texas we care about called private property rights,” Hurd said.
He also noted that more than a million acres might be ceded to Mexico to build a wall, depending on physical barriers and which side of the Rio Grande the wall would be constructed.
Hurd believes border surveillance using radar and cameras, and a careful examination of what’s being done and what works is a far more rational approach to take.
“This is not rocket science,” Hurd said. “We can solve this problem. We need to be looking at the right metrics. The metric is: Are we seeing a decrease in drugs and illegal immigration coming into this country? That’s what we should be focused on, instead of how many miles of wall.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated how many miles of the U.S.-Mexico border are in Hurd’s district. It is 820, not 620.