Arizona Rep. Schweikert says border security will include wall, technology
PHOENIX — An Arizona congressman said federal lawmakers will not be able to build a physical wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border, as a government shutdown over border wall funding looms.
U.S. Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News Monday that the environment along some of the border would not allow for a wall to be built.
“I don’t think, when you actually look at the data — I’m someone who has backpacked the Chiricahuas. You’re not building a wall through those cliffs and mountains,” he said.
Schweikert said, “When you’re in areas that have populations, you actually need actual, physical security.
“And you can look at the success that they’ve had in Yuma, San Diego, on dealing with narcotics and a lot of human exploitation, it was effective,” he added.
“But other areas — if you’re on the Tohono O’odham Nation, you have hundreds of miles of desert — other types of technology are probably what you want.”
The White House is insisting that Congress provide $5 billion to build the border wall ahead of a potential government shutdown.
Democratic congressional leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi have proposed no more than $1.6 billion, as outlined in a bipartisan Senate bill.
Schweikert said Democrats know the $5 billion in funding will not just go toward building a wall, but will fund other security options as well.
He added that other border security options have been “part of the discussion,” but argued Democrats don’t want to agree to the funding because they “feel that if they were to agree to something, they give the president a win.”
Without a resolution, parts of the federal government will shut down at midnight Friday.
About one-quarter of the government would be affected, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks.
The U.S. Postal Service, busy delivering packages for the holiday season, wouldn’t be affected by any government shutdown because it’s an independent agency.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.