Texas lawmaker: Fund ports of entry, not wall

A Texas Democrat says President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump tweets ICE will begin removing 'millions' of undocumented migrants 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 VelaWHIP LIST: Number of Democrats backing Trump impeachment inquiry rises WHIP LIST: Number of Democrats backing Trump impeachment inquiry rises Border Dems introduce bill to process refugee claims in Central America 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.

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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 HurdHillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Lawmakers grapple with deepfake threat at hearing 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.