Roe plans to host immigration town hall in his district

Zach Vance • Updated Apr 10, 2019 at 8:00 PM

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, told reporters via conference call Wednesday that he plans to host an immigration town hall in his district in a few weeks. 

The town hall news came after Roe was asked about the departures of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Secret Service Director Randolph Alles. 

“I know then-Secretary Neilsen. She had a very, very tough job. I don’t know the issue with the Secret Service head. I think it had something to do with what happened down at Mar-a-Lago (with) this woman getting in there with electronic equipment. Basically, a spy. I don’t know what she was. That will have to be worked out and evaluated,” Roe said. 

“But what’s going on at the border is tough. We’re going to do a town hall in the next couple of weeks at home on just immigration. We’re not going to talk about anything but that, just to hear what’s on people’s minds about that issue.” 

Roe said illegal immigration at the border continues to worsen, pointing to the more than 100,000 people apprehended last month as evidence of the severity. 

“I don’t know how many (illegal immigrants) actually got in here, but that’s how many was apprehended. They think, as the weather warms up, it will only get worse. So the president has tried about everything he can to get the funding he needs to secure our borders, and I certainly want to help him do that,” the congressman said. 

As far as the House of Representatives, Roe said the House Democratic caucus remains split on setting discretionary spending budget caps. 

Progressives in the Democratic caucus have pressed to increase non-defense spending caps by $33 billion to equal current defense spending. 

House leaders had planned to vote on a two-year budget plan Tuesday that would have increased both defense and non-defense spending caps, but the progressives apparently whipped up enough support that the vote was canceled.

“The 90 or so progressives in the party wouldn’t agree to the spending caps, and the Blue Dogs wouldn’t agree with what the progressives wanted to do so they didn’t do anything,” Roe said about the fallout in the Democratic House caucus. 

“I knew this was going to be a tough fight when it came up, I wasn’t nearly as worried about getting that shutdown fixed (earlier this year) as I was about budget caps for next year.”

The House did vote on the “Save the Internet Act”  Wednesday, and Roe briefly explained why he opposed the legislation aimed at reinstating net neutrality rules, which were initially repealed by the Federal Communications Commission in 2017.

“To me, this is a solution looking for a problem. We’ve had an open, free-market internet, and (we’ve made) absolutely unthinkable progress ... in the last 20 to 25 years,” Roe said. 

“What this Democratic bill didn’t do — and it’s going nowhere in the Senate — is it didn’t do anything about the thing people are really concerned about, which is the control of access or censorship. And who’s been doing that? Facebook, Twitter and Google. It didn’t do anything for those large providers who have been doing those things.” 

When asked if President Donald Trump should be forced to release his tax returns through a formal request made by the Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee, Roe said absolutely not. 

“No, I think that’s optional. The thing that you ought to be sure of is that you don’t use a tax-return to weaponize the IRS. We’ve never done that. All presidents’ tax returns and vice presidents’ (tax returns) are audited. I didn’t realize they were, but they are. So every president and vice president is audited. It’s their call,” he said. 






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