GOP lawmaker says border situation threatens US 'integrity'

Rep. Clay HigginsGlen (Clay) Clay HigginsLawmakers ask Trump administration to help Gulf oil and gas producers Louisiana church defies coronavirus recommendations to hold service for 300 The five dumbest things said about impeachment so far MORE (R-La.) told Hill.TV's "Rising" on Tuesday that the "integrity" of the U.S. is being threatened by the situation at the southern border.

"It doesn't take long to understand that our nation's very integrity is threatened — not because we don't have the most compassionate, generous immigration system in the world, we do, but because that system, the infrastructure thereof, is overwhelmed," Higgins, who serves on the House Homeland Security Committee, told hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpProtesters tear down statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore 'Independence Day' star Bill Pullman urges Americans to wear a 'freedom mask' in July 4 PSA Protesters burn American flag outside White House after Trump's July Fourth address MORE and Republicans have cited a surge in migrants and confiscated drugs to argue there is a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump in mid-February declared a national emergency to initiate construction of his long-promised border wall, after Congress denied him the funds in a 35-day standoff that resulted in the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

"Congress, myself and my colleagues, we have to do out part to provide those men and women who are tasked with securing our southern border with the infrastructure they've asked for, the funding that they need, the additional manpower they've requested, the enhanced physical barrier that they've requested — all of the above," Higgins said. 

His comments came a day before Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenThe Seila Law case: Liberty and political firing Hillicon Valley: Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates | Barr vows to make surveillance reforms after watchdog report | DHS cyber chief focused on 2020 Sen. Kennedy slams acting DHS secretary for lack of coronavirus answers MORE is slated to leave the Trump administration.

Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, will lead the Department of Homeland Security on an acting basis.

"I have complete confidence in her successor, and that the president will make the right choices," Higgins said.

— Julia Manchester