Texas GOP lawmaker calls Trump border crisis a 'myth'

Republican Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdWhite House, GOP defend Trump emergency declaration GOP rep: Trump emergency declaration puts US in 'uncharted territory' Immigration groups press for pairing Dreamer benefits with border security MORE (Texas) is pushing back on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein at DOJ McCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump is a Russian asset McCabe: Trump ‘undermining the role of law enforcement’ MORE's claims of a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, calling the hype around illegal border crossings a “myth.”

"It is a myth," Hurd told Rolling Stone in an interview published Friday. He also called Trump’s long-desired border wall a “third-century solution to a 21st-century problem.”

“What I always say is building a wall from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security,” Hurd said.

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Hurd, a former undercover CIA officer, is the only lawmaker representing a border district who is a Republican. His district is one of the largest in the country, with the Texas 23rd Congressional District including 820 miles of border between San Antonio and El Paso.

The Republican lawmaker told the outlet if there was a crisis of illegal border crossings, the “first step” should be paying the officials dealing with it.

The Department of Homeland Security is the federal agency with the largest number of employees either furloughed or forced to work without pay during the record-long government shutdown. 

More than $1 billion is owed to 245,405 workers, who have each missed an estimated $5,895 in pay since the shutdown began on Dec. 22 in a fight over funding for Trump’s long-promised border wall.

Hurd said a physical barrier is a “helpful tool” along certain stretches of the border but said other technology — such as infrared cameras — would be more beneficial.

“You need a mile-by-mile assessment because each mile is different from the next,” Hurd told the outlet.

Trump frequently refers to illegal border crossings and drug smuggling activity as a "crisis."

Fewer than half of U.S. voters, however, believe that there is an urgent issue at the southern border requiring a major response. 

A Politico–Morning Consult poll released Tuesday found that 42 percent of American voters believe that the situation at the U.S-Mexico border is "a crisis." Another 37 percent said illegal immigration was a "problem," but not in the terms the president has used.