STAFF WRITER JARED FIELDS
Congressman Roger Williams admitted he was “selfish” when it came to his “hesitancy” in supporting President Donald Trump’s recent national emergency declaration to build a wall on the southern border.
Williams (R-Austin) shared his views on the declaration, among other topics, during a town hall meeting Feb. 19 at the Burnet County Courthouse in Burnet.
Williams represents the 25th Congressional District of Texas, which includes Austin to Fort Worth and all of Burnet County.
“I have never really been in support of that because we had put him in a corner by him having to do that because Congress didn’t do our job,” Williams said to a crowd of about 40 people. “And I’m talking about a Republican-held Congress didn’t do our job. We didn’t come up with a border security plan, and he was begging for that.”
Williams said he would prefer Congress to take action instead of seeing Trump declare a national emergency.
Speaking more broadly on immigration, Williams sees a need for an additional 5,000 more border patrol agents, investment in more technology along the border and ports of entry, and to make ports of entry larger.
“And there’s going to be some brick-and-mortar; that’s fine,” Williams said. “That’s a barricade; that’s what that is.”
Asked by an attendee if he wants to secure the border with a wall, Williams said no.
Williams’ hesitancy, as he said, comes from the money from which Trump could draw to fund border wall construction during a national emergency. Williams represents part of Fort Hood, which could lose funding for planned improvements on the base.
“I don’t know if I could ever do anything more in Congress that would make me prouder than to be able to have sixty-one million dollars to build new barracks for our men and women,” Williams said.
The emergency declaration has been challenged by a federal lawsuit from 16 states, led by California, and also including Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia.
Williams spoke and answered questions for about an hour during the town hall, which was his second of the day. He held a town hall earlier Feb. 19 in Bee Cave. He previously held three in Cleburne, Glen Rose, and Meridian and has two planned for Feb. 20 in Hico and Stephenville.