For U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), the issue of border security is a matter of life and death. Pointing to the number of Americans who die daily as a result of drug overdoses, Brooks says protecting the southern border is an urgent matter.
Not expecting current negotiations to result in funding for a border wall, he suggests that President Donald Trump use the military to build an initial portion of the wall. According to Brooks, about $1 billion could be made available immediately, without any additional legislation. Additional funding could then be obtained by declaring a national emergency.
In my interview with him, Brooks explained why he believes his colleagues on the other side of the aisle are so opposed to funding a physical barrier on the border.
Jan Jekielek: After Trump’s State of the Union—I’m going to read a tweet which you put out and ask a couple of questions about it. You said, “President Trump did an excellent job of explaining why we must secure America’s porous southern border. Too many Americans have lost their lives and their jobs. Too many Americans have had their wages suppressed,” and then you continue on. It made me think about your constituency and specifically, the impact of the porous border on the people of Alabama and how you’re experiencing that as their representative.
Rep. Brooks: Well, we have Alabamians who are dead now. They would not be dead if illegal aliens had not done things that caused their deaths. We also have tens of thousands of Americans each year who die from drug overdoses. It might be heroin, it might be cocaine, it might be fentanyl—it might be any number of substances that are illegally transported over our southern border. So you put those two things together and it’s a huge impact, not only in Alabama but also the United States of America. Easily, 50 Americans die each day as a direct result of the conduct of illegal aliens or drug overdoses related to a porous southern border. That’s 15,000-plus a year and that’s a minimal estimate.
Mr. Jekielek: I read that you actually are encouraging the president to declare a national emergency. Can you get into the rationale behind that a little bit?
Mr. Brooks: The Democrats are not going to do anything at all in the United States Congress to promote border security. They will mouth the words “border security,” but to them, it’s apparent, from their actions—not their words—but from their actions. Their definition of border security is very unlike that of the American people. To the Democrats here in Washington, D.C., border security means helping illegal aliens secure their position in America once they cross the border. That’s not what Americans believe and want when they think of the phrase border security. Since we cannot anticipate that the Democrats are going to do anything to help save those American lives that are being lost on a daily basis because of illegal alien homicides, plus the drug overdoses from drugs that come across our southern border, the president needs to act with the authority that Congress has already given him and the money that Congress has already given him. So there are different approaches to this. One statute is 10 USC 284, [which] empowers the president to direct the Department of Defense to construct things like walls, fences, barriers on our southern border in order to interdict the drugs that are being shipped across our southern border by illegal aliens and/or drug cartel members. [The] president can do that right now, based on authority already given him; the Department of Defense, in testimony last week before the House Armed Services Committee, concurred that the president has that authority. Now that, in and of itself, will help build some border wall, will help with some border security, but it’s not the end-all, because there’s a limitation on funds, roughly a billion dollars, give or take a little bit. Then if the president takes it a step further and declares it a national emergency, that frees up in excess of $10 billion that can be diverted to border security and saving American lives. So I’m urging the president to do whatever is necessary to save American lives. And when we talk about a national emergency, let’s go back to 9/11 and the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York, the attack on the Pentagon here in Northern Virginia and, of course, those who lost their lives in the airplane crash in Pennsylvania: Roughly 3,000 Americans died on 9/11. That was a national emergency that justified us invading Iraq, invading Afghanistan—over 6,000 American dead in those endeavors—as we tried to stop those terrorists from coming back again. Trillions of dollars have been spent and that was over 3,000 lost lives, total. Here we have over 15,000 dead Americans each year. In comparison, this is five times worse than 9/11 each year, if you look at the minimal estimate of lives lost as a result of illegal aliens and our porous southern border.
Mr. Jekielek: This is very interesting. This line of thinking around getting the military to basically start building a wall.
Mr. Brooks: That’s the job of the military: [it] is to protect the United States of America. We defend borders all over the world. Isn’t it time we defended our own?
Mr. Jekielek: So you’re saying that existing legislation allows for the military to start with about a billion dollars now. Let’s imagine how this plays out. The president declares a national emergency. There is a lot more money now available to continue the work, but a lot of people are saying this will get caught up in the courts.
Mr. Brooks: Well, certainly, the socialists and the Democrats—and they’re pretty much one of the same nowadays—they love to appoint to the judicial system judges who don’t follow the law. But the law is pretty clear. The president has a right to declare a national emergency. This qualifies in their definition of a national emergency, and if it goes to the Supreme Court, we’re going to win that lawsuit. But in the meantime, if you go to the 9th Circuit, which is the worst circuit in the United States. I use the word worst because it is the one that enters bad decisions more so than any other circuit. It’s the circuit that results in more reversals by the Supreme Court than any other circuit. If we start there, there’ll be litigation and you might have an adverse ruling. My suggestion to the White House and the president would not [be] to spend these funds initially in the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, rather do it in Texas, where we have a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and judges who are much more likely to follow and obey the law rather than be judicial activists and undermine our republic system of government. That would be my advice to the White House. Start in Texas, let the litigation ensue in Texas where we’re more likely to get judges who will obey the law rather than make law.
Mr. Jekielek: Very interesting approach. I also noticed that you introduced the El Chapo House companion bill. Does this work together with this approach of getting the military on the wall? What is the idea behind that?
Mr. Brooks: The president of the United States, when he campaigned, said that we’re going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. Well, the nice thing about the El Chapo bill is we can make a Mexican pay for it, El Chapo, through the seizure of his assets. There are estimates that he has over $14 billion in assets related to the drug trade that we could potentially seize. Whether we get all that, I don’t know—the likelihood is that we would not. But nonetheless, this particular drug dealer, El Chapo, and other drug dealers; we have forfeiture systems where we can seize property; we can seize the cash that’s caught with the drugs and we can apply that to wall construction, in a way, making Mexico pay for it, or at least Mexican citizens.
Mr. Jekielek: Are you at all aware of Sen. [Bill] Cassidy’s bill that is kind of in the same vein looking at existing forfeiture?
Mr. Brooks: If it is related to the drug trade, then that’s pretty much what the El Chapo bill does. But there are other things—crimes committed—that can result in forfeitures and that would be another revenue source. I’m not so much focused on where the revenue source needs to come from, because there are different options, so much as I’m focused on us constructing a wall and providing the border security that our military provides to other nations but we don’t provide to our own American citizens at a great loss of life to Americans.
Mr. Jekielek: What do you think will be the conclusion of this conference committee work that’s happening right now? I think it ends in a couple of days.
Mr. Brooks: Based on the makeup of the conference committee, it’s my belief that whatever comes out will be the exact opposite of border security. It will be more in line with open borders policies that the Democrats advocate. Keep in mind where the Democrats are coming from. This is a power play on the part of the Democratic leadership and the Democratic Party. They have figured out that American citizens, people who are born and raised here in the United States of America, don’t like socialism. They, the Democrats, have figured out that people who were born and raised in America tend to better understand the foundational principles that have combined to make America a great and powerful nation. And the best way to overcome those American citizens who hold those beliefs, foundational principle beliefs, is to import illegal aliens whose families are 70 percent likely to be on welfare and producing—either via some kind of amnesty in the future or otherwise—voters who can be relied on to vote Democrat. And, to a large degree, that Democratic strategy has worked in the sanctuary state of California where long ago, but at one time, it was a Republican state. But the Democrats have kept importing voters who do not share our foundational principle values. They weren’t taught it in the lands that they came from. And because a lot of those voters are dependent on welfare, they’re not self-sufficient; they’re having to rely on the dole of the federal government. They’re having to rely on the hard work of others. This class of voter fits the Democratic profile, and look at what’s happened in California. What used to be a predominantly Republican state or a battleground state is now overwhelmingly Democrat, where out of 53 congressmen, seven are Republican, 46 are Democrat. So the Democrats have figured out, hey, this is the way we can seize power and we can implement our socialist agenda. We can undermine the Republican principles that made us who we are as a country and by Republican principles, I’m talking about H.R. 1, which undermines the voting process and dramatically increases the likelihood that noncitizens will be voting on the president of the United States, will be voting on senators and congressmen, and that increases the likelihood that there will be substantial voter fraud that, in turn, will tend to help the Democrats win these elections. So that’s where the Democrats are coming from and they’re not about to give up their lust for power in exchange for better border security that protects and saves American lives.
Mr. Jekielek: During the State of the Union Address, the president said that border security is a moral issue. Can you expand on that?
Mr. Brooks: Sure. Saving people’s lives is a moral principle. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And when you have over 50 Americans who are dead each day because of our porous southern border and the homicides of illegal aliens, it’s a moral principle to try to save and protect those lives from being lost. Now, some estimates put that in the neighborhood of 100 to 150 dead Americans each day because of illegal alien homicides combined with our porous southern border and the drug overdoses.
Mr. Jekielek: February 15th is the deadline that the president has set. What’s the best case scenario in your mind?
Mr. Brooks: The best case scenario is we keep the government open. We do not have another shutdown, and the president exercises the authority already granted him under the United States Code. If that’s not enough, granted to him in the United States Constitution—because he is commander in chief, with the primary obligation of defending the borders of the United States of America, coupled with the money that has already been appropriated—the president can divert from whatever it otherwise would be spent on to border security thereby saving American lives, saving American jobs, increasing American wages, and decreasing tax liabilities of American citizens. Sounds like a win, win, win, win to me, if the president will so act. I encourage him to do so.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.