Texas lawmaker: Fund ports of entry, not wall

A Texas Democrat says President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocratic senator rips Trump's 'let them fight' remarks: 'Enough is enough' Warren warns Facebook may help reelect Trump 'and profit off of it' Trump touts Turkey cease-fire: 'Sometimes you have to let them fight' MORE should back funding at U.S. ports of entry instead of a wall on the Mexican border, arguing dangerous drugs are entering the United States through the ports.

“As an alternative to the President’s misguided insistence on physical barrier funding, I am proposing that four billion dollars be appropriated to fully fund border security infrastructure at our nation's ports of entry,” Rep. Filemon VelaFilemon Bartolome VelaA dozen House Democrats call on EU ambassador to resign amid Ukraine scandal Here are the Democrats who aren't co-sponsoring an assault weapons ban DCCC faces mass staff shakeup: 'It's the Monday Night Massacre' MORE (D-Texas) said in a statement.

Vela, along with fellow Democratic Rio Grande Valley Reps. Henry Cuellar and Vicente González, has long opposed President Trump's proposed border wall.


In 2016, Vela wrote an open letter telling Trump to “take your border wall and shove it up your ass.”

A majority of drugs seized at the southern border were found at ports of entry, mostly in privately owned vehicles trying to cross the border, according to a 2017 report by Customs and Border Protection. 

“The fact is clear that eighty-five to eighty-eight percent of the fentanyl and opioid seizures occur at our ports of entry. For that reason, I believe that federal resources dedicated to these measures are a much better bang for the buck than wasted border wall funding,” said Vela.

Border representatives are also concerned about how the federal government would procure privately owned land to build the border wall, and its effect on state parks, biological reserves and strategic installations such as a SpaceX launch facility in Vela's district.

All border representatives in the incoming Congress oppose the wall. Just one of them, Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdLawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings Democrats claim new momentum from intelligence watchdog testimony Romney: Trump requesting Biden investigation from China, Ukraine 'wrong and appalling' MORE (Texas), is a Republican.

Trump is demanding that Congress approve $5 billion in funding for the wall. The standoff has led to a nearly two-week partial government shutdown.