Washington Rep. Adam Smith: Trump ‘has not been honest’ on border wall
With President Donald Trump addressing the nation on his proposed southern border wall Tuesday evening, Washington State Congressperson Adam Smith made the Democrats’ own position on border security clear.
Many, including Smith, have pointed out that President Trump could potentially declare a state of emergency as a workaround to build his wall without Congressional approval. Even so, that wouldn’t occur without a significant challenge.
“If the president wants to get up and say ‘this is an emergency, I’m spending money on a wall,’ he could do it, and then there would be a lawsuit,” Smith told KTTH’s Michael Medved.
The last time a state of emergency was declared was for war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan — essentially, it allows the president to “tap into a variety of funds for a variety of different reasons,” but only within the parameters of the Department of Defense.
Because of that, using those funds to build a wall along the southern border of the United States could prove problematic.
“Drawing a parallel to building a wall on the southern border, there is no emergency. Previously, we had a war — that was clearly an emergency,” said Smith, now the chair of the House Arms Services Committee. “Here, I think he would have a hard time getting past that legal argument.”
As for the partial government shutdown currently underway, a compromise has yet to surface for either side.
“I don’t know how (the shutdown) is going to end,” noted Smith. “The way it should end is with the president having a discussion about border security. The White House has not been honest.”
President Trump recently requested $5.6 billion for wide-ranging “enhanced border security” measures that Smith claims haven’t been explicitly laid out.
An estimate from the Department of Homeland Security said that a border wall would cost roughly $21.6 billion.
“(Trump) has to tell us what ‘enhanced border security’ means. He wants $5.6 billion. For what? He says for the wall, but we all know the wall is going to cost $20 to 30 billion. He just sort of wants $5.6 billion for nothing specific,” Smith said.
Through all this, Smith still doesn’t rule out the need for reform in different ways, citing a handful of measures that he would support. But when it comes to a wall, he simply doesn’t see the need.
“Most border security experts say we need more sensors [and] more drones — we need to employ technology,” Smith said. “Building a wall doesn’t make sense.”
“If there’s an opportunity to do comprehensive immigration reform as part of this, I’d think that’d be great,” he added.