Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, a freshman from New Mexico, said on Saturday that she had seen parts of the border between the United States and Mexico where "the wall works."
Torres Small was interviewed by a local New Mexico television station about her recent appointment to chair the House Homeland Security Committee's subcommittee on Oversight, Management, and Accountability. During the interview, Torres Small expressed that Congress had to take a comprehensive approach to border security that considered needs on the ground.
"The last time physical barriers were funded by Congress it was based on a mile-by-mile assessment of what was needed on the terrain," the congresswoman told KOB, an NBC-affiliated station. "That’s a real plan. That’s real border security. Not just a bunch of money that you want for a barrier."
Torres Small, whose congressional district contains New Mexico's entire border with Mexico, admitted that there were areas where more border patrol was required and even areas where "the wall works."
"We got to look for ways to do that because, for example, the Border Patrol last year only gained a net 120 agents, and it was the first time they had any net gain in five years. And staffing levels continue to be below the appropriated amount for staffing," Torres Small said. "There's technology and infrastructure … I've seen places where the wall works."
Torres Small's remarks come as Congress is debating border security, including President Donald Trump's request for border wall funding. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D., Calif.) initial refusal to consider appropriating the president's request resulted in a partial government shutdown that lasted for 35 days.