By Jon Dougherty
Though majority Democrats in the House are expected to pass a resolution blocking POTUS Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border as a means of securing funds for additional border walls, one GOP congressmen who has just completed a tour of duty as an Air National Guard officer says the designation is entirely appropriate.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who flew surveillance missions along the border, told CBS News‘ “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan on Sunday the experience will guide his vote against the Democrat-led resolution.
Brennan first asked Kinzinger if the situation along the border rose to the level of a “national emergency.”
“Yeah, I think it does,” he answered. “You know, I went down there kind of undecided. You know I put on my lieutenant colonel hat, was apolitical but obviously, I’m looking at this, getting the information I can.
“And I think if this was just an issue of immigration it wouldn’t constitute a national emergency but what I saw was really disturbing,” he added.
The Western Journal reported that Kinzinger’s mission changed his mind:
The Air Force pilot recounted finding a woman abandoned in the desert by her border trafficking coyotes, while on another mission they assisted in apprehending a person carrying 70 pounds of methamphetamines.
Kinzinger, who was flying his missions out of Tucson, said the situation in Arizona is completely different than what he saw during a prior border deployment in Texas during the Obama administration.
During his deployment, Kinzinger said Border Patrol officials told him they find upwards of 200 people a year dead in the desert, usually due to exposure.
Brennan defaulted to the standard Democrat-friendly media position — that overall apprehensions are down so, again, what’s the need for an emergency declaration?
Kinzinger acknowledged the drop but said that he witnessed large numbers of migrant groups still attempting to cross into the U.S. illegally.
And, he added, just because groups could be seen and detected didn’t mean that they could be apprehended.
“There were many, many groups that we would see on technology with camera radar or something like that that we could not go address because there were not enough Border Patrol agents,” the congressman said.
“These agents sometimes left to take a truck and then walk two miles through terrible terrain to get to these groups only to have them run while they’re already exhausted and they get lost in that chaos.”
As for why the number of apprehensions is down, Kinzinger suggested it was because more migrants have learned how to abuse U.S. asylum rules.
“But I’ll tell you what I saw was a lot of people coming over the border, a lot of drugs in the border and a lot of human trafficking,” he reiterated. “I mean these coyotes that would get paid a lot of money to bring groups over and then desert them to save their own backside. It was extremely disturbing.”
Kinzinger’s “no” vote isn’t going to matter because House Democrats have already decided that politicizing border security is a priority for them. But his experience along the border and testimony about what he saw gives him far more credibility than most of his Donkey Party colleagues.