Ryan on border: ‘We will get this done’

Greg Nash

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) toured the U.S.-Mexico border for the first time on Wednesday, one day after the Trump administration clarified its hard-line approach to border security. 

Ryan in a statement said he would work with the Trump administration to secure the border, though he made no mention of the specific policy guidance issued Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security.

“When you see with your own eyes the many challenges facing our law enforcement professionals along the border, it gives you even greater respect for the work that they do day-in and day-out,” Ryan said. “But more tools and more support are needed for them to do their jobs effectively. Congress is committed to securing the border and enforcing our laws, and together with the Trump administration, we will get this done.”

{mosads}Ryan was filmed Wednesday afternoon riding with border patrol agents on horseback. He also viewed the Rio Grande and surrounding areas by aerial tour and by boat. 

The Speaker was joined by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), who chairs an appropriations committee overseeing homeland security.

Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), whose district includes part of the border, also attended. 

Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) also toured the Mexican border this week amid spiking interest in border security.   

Congress is readying for a fight over providing money to pay for the wall promised by President Trump.

Estimates peg the cost of building the wall at around $15 billion to $20 billion.

Trump pledged that Mexico would pay for the wall, a notion the country’s leaders have rejected. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled a visit to Washington last month over the border wall dispute.  

Trump issued an executive order within days of taking office last month that took steps toward building the wall, including a provision that called for hiring 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents.

The Trump administration outlined plans this week for more aggressive deportations of immigrants in the U.S. illegally. Memos signed by Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly expand the scope of immigrants considered priorities for deportation.

It’s a significant shift from the Obama administration, which focused on deporting undocumented immigrants with serious criminal records or who had recently crossed into the country. 

The new Trump administration guidelines state that any immigrant convicted, charged or suspected of a crime will be prioritized for deportation. Kelly’s memos leave open the potential for prosecuting or removing adults who help children enter the U.S. without documentation. 

Not all Republicans are on board with Trump’s idea to build a wall along the Mexican border. 

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) represents more than 800 miles of the Mexican border, the most of any member of Congress. He said that building the wall would be “the most expensive and least effective way to secure the border,” because some parts of the border wouldn’t be suited well for constructing a wall for various geographical and cultural reasons.

Hurd is traveling during this week’s congressional recess on a national security assignment, according to his office.

Tags John Cornyn Paul Ryan Thom Tillis

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