GOP rep says after deployment to border that situation warrants emergency declaration

GOP rep says after deployment to border that situation warrants emergency declaration
© Greg Nash

Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerBiden asks Pentagon to examine 'how and when' to mandate COVID-19 vaccine for troops Stefanik calls Cheney 'Pelosi pawn' over Jan. 6 criticism Kinzinger primary challenger picks up Cawthorn endorsement MORE (R-Ill.) said Sunday that he believes the situation at the southern border constitutes a national emergency after witnessing it firsthand when he was deployed to Arizona with his Air National Guard unit.

"I went down there kind of undecided," Kinzinger said on "Face the Nation" on CBS.

"I think if this was just an issue of immigration it wouldn’t constitute a national emergency," he added. "But what I saw was really disturbing."

He recounted witnessing a woman "hunkered down in the desert" after the individuals who brought her across the border abandoned her, as well as another instance where his unit found 70 pounds of methamphetamine being transported into the country.

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Kinzinger acknowledged that government statistics show border apprehensions are at the lowest levels in decades, but said what he saw firsthand showed drugs and human trafficking pose a significant problem.

As a result, Kinzinger said he won't vote to block President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE's national emergency declaration to secure funds that have not been congressionally appropriated for his long-desired wall along the southern border.

"I wish this would’ve happened a different way," he said, but added that he believes Trump has the authority to declare an emergency.

"If this was just about immigration I would disagree," he said. "I do think this is a security threat. It’s a security threat with the amount of drugs coming over the border and the human trafficking that I’ve seen."

The House is expected to vote Tuesday on a resolution that would dissolve Trump's emergency declaration. The measure is likely to pass with Democratic support, and could also pass the Senate with some GOP support.

Trump has indicated he's prepared to veto the measure if it reaches his desk, and lawmakers have expressed skepticism that Congress could override it with a two-thirds vote in each chamber.

The emergency declaration will be tied up in the courts in the meantime, as it has faced a flurry of lawsuits since it was announced earlier this month.