Trump doubles down on tough immigration proposals
Texas Dem proposes rule that would add Trump language into border wall bill
Rep. Filem n Vela (D-Texas) proposed an amendment Wednesday to a border security bill that would put in law the terms President Trump has used to describe his proposed border wall.
Vela, an outspoken opponent of the border wall, said he offered it to "provide the members of [the House Homeland Security] Committee the clearest picture, to date, of the conflicting and absurd vision the President has for his wall."
The Texas Democrat introduced the amendment to the Border Security for America Act of 2017, a bill that would grant $10 billion for construction of the border wall.
"Does [this bill] authorize the construction of a 'big, beautiful border wall' from 'sea to shining sea' like the president described it on the campaign trail?" asked Vela.
"Will the wall, as authorized under this bill, have "a big, beautiful door" for legal immigrants like President Trump said he envisioned back in August 2016?" he added, going through a list of descriptions Trump has offered for the wall.
Vela's amendment would have defined in law a border wall system as "a wall between the United States and Mexico that is," among others, "big and beautiful," "see-through," "real," "inclusive of a door," "aesthetically-pleasing and consistent with the general surrounding environment," and "paid for by the Mexican Government."
"I appreciate the gentleman's creativity in this amendment and sense of humor, but I will oppose this amendment," said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the committee chairman.
Vela, whose district straddles the easternmost end of the U.S.-Mexico border, also presented an amendment to withhold any border wall funding from the federal government until it received a promise from Mexico to refund any expenditures.
"The promise to have Mexico pay for Trump's border wall was a central promise of the campaign," said Vela. "I do not support the construction of Trump's wall. That said, I offer this amendment to hold the President to his promise that the wall be paid for by Mexico."
Ranking Member Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) also introduced a tongue-in-cheek amendment, satirizing the potential for multiple eminent domain claims to build a border wall along privately-owned stretches of border.
Under Thompson's amendment, the bill would have been renamed the "Taking Americans' Land to Build Trump's Wall Act of 2017,"
All Democratic amendments failed, receiving no Republican votes despite presumably reflecting the campaign promises of a Republican president.
The bill, presented by McCaul, sailed through on a party-line 18-12 vote.