Lawmakers on Capitol Hill continue to negotiate on border security funding before the President’s deadline of February 15. If they fail to meet the mark, President Donald Trump has warned of taking matters into his own hands and using his presidential power to declare a national emergency. The move would allow him pull money from the federal budget and use the funding for extra barriers.

Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) Photo courtesy of US House of Representatives

East-central Missouri Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer agrees with President Donald Trump that the U.S. must build additional wall at the southern border.

“By giving the legislature, the Congress, another three weeks, I think it proves his point that it’s a national emergency that Congress can’t address or won’t address. Therefore, he has to. If he goes to court on this, I think it will actually strengthen his hand,” Luetkemeyer says.

Trump wants $5.7 billion to add more wall along the U.S. – Mexico border. Some Democrats want money to hire more border patrol officers, additional technology like drones to monitor border activity, ways to detect contraband in automobiles entering the U.S., among other things.

Republicans and Democrats have been so far apart on what measures they want that the gridlock led to a federal government shutdown for about five weeks beginning around Christmas.

Luetkemeyer, a Republican from St. Elizabeth, tells Missourinet affiliate KWOS in Jefferson City the country is also in a humanitarian crisis.

“Between 50 and 60% of the women and children who come across the border have been molested,” he says. “They have physically been molested. This is a true, true humanitarian problem. Why do we not want to protect our people, protect our country, protect our economy, protect our citizens from all the drugs flowing across? Why would we not want to do that? I don’t understand the mindset.”

Western Missouri Democratic Congressman Emanuel Cleaver has a different take about Trump calling the situation a national emergency.

The U.S Customs and Border Protection says fewer than 400,000 undocumented immigrants were captured after entering the country illegally in 2018, compared to 1.6 million in 2000.

Cleaver, of Kansas City, has also cited the Drug Enforcement Administration saying most drugs come through ports of entry, not the border. During an interview last month with Neil Cavuto on Fox News, Cleaver said walls would be helpful in some locations along the border, but it’s not the only tool that should be used.

He goes on to say that many landowners along the border are against the added barrier because they want to keep their land. Cleaver anticipates the farmers and ranchers, which he says are mostly Republicans, to fight potential eminent domain.

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