GOP lawmaker says border situation threatens US 'integrity'

Rep. Clay HigginsGlen (Clay) Clay HigginsVA under pressure to ease medical marijuana rules 58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill GOP lawmaker vows to catch those responsible for string of arsons at black churches in Louisiana 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 TrumpFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment 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 NielsenFive things to watch at Supreme Court's DACA hearings This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Senators urge Trump to fill vacancies at DHS 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