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Roe cites ‘huge surge’ in immigrants during town hall meeting

Hank Hayes • Apr 17, 2019 at 10:45 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — “How many people think we need open borders?”

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe asked that question to about 30 constituents near the end of an immigration town hall meeting held Tuesday night at the Sullivan County Justice Center.

No one raised their hand.

Roe, R-Tenn., used the event to advocate his support for southern border security. Constituents were asked to write questions on index cards. At the end of those questions, Roe did take questions from the audience. Four uniformed officers were in the room to keep the event calm.

“I am not an expert in immigration,” Roe admitted at the outset of the event. “Is there a crisis or isn’t there a crisis at the border? We’ve had a huge surge (of immigrants) in the past four or five months of illegal crossings at our border.”

Roe said he made a trip to the southern border to get himself educated about immigration.

“One day last March, we apprehended almost 4,000 people,” he claimed. “I went down to the fence at El Paso. I could see the University of El Paso. Across I could see Juarez, Mexico. The Customs and Border Patrol people told me it was the fourth most dangerous city in the world. The fencing has lowered that violence coming over from Mexico. … They monitor the border with a barrier in some places, with sensors, with drones, on horseback, SUVs, four wheelers, you name it.”

At the legal points of entry, Roe said it’s “amazing” how much commerce goes between the two countries.

Roe also addressed these questions:

How is denying asylum seekers into the country following Jesus’ example?

“I wouldn’t stop all asylum seekers. I wouldn’t do that. … As I remember, Jesus said ‘render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.’ We’re a country of laws. We legally immigrate 1.2 million people.”

How can Republicans be pro-life and support separating children at the border?

“The policy since August is to let them all go. Everyone has been turned loose. … When they come in, many times you don’t know if that person is the parent.”

What’s going on on the Mexico side of the border?

“The president didn’t think the Mexican government was doing enough on their end.”

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