NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Two members of Louisiana's congressional delegation reacted to an idea President Donald Trump has floated for funding his promised border wall.
Trump has raised the idea of using the military's budget to help pay for the southern border wall he promised during the campaign and continues to say is necessary to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants into the country.
"I don't know if that's going to happen, or not. I'll tell you my idea. Right now, cartels move about $110 billion a year from the United States to Mexico and we only confiscate about $7 billion. We could do a lot better. And if we did better not only could we use the money to build a wall, we would also put a crimp in the cartel's ability to finance the drug trade," said Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, while visiting New Orleans Wednesday.
House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise was also in town.
"I think there are a lot of ways that we can continue to give President Trump the money he needs to build the wall. In fact, the bill that we just passed last week, the spending bill dealing with funding the government, we added another $1.6 billion dollars of new money for President Trump to build an additional hundred miles of border wall," said Scalise, R-Metairie.
Inside First Grace Methodist Church in New Orleans, Jose Torres spoke through an interpreter.
He said he came to the U.S. 13 years ago without legal documentation to help with the rebuilding effort after Hurricane Katrina. He is a leader with the organization, Congress of Day Laborers.
For the past five months, Torres has taken sanctuary inside the church to avoid deportation.
"Being in sanctuary is 24/7. I can't walk out these doors or I risk being arrested and deported," said Torres.
Torres said he has two small children and does not want to leave his family.
"We as immigrants have not come to harm anyone. We've come here to work, to live in dignity, to have a better future for our families, many of us have come fleeing violence," he said.
Scalise said there have been instances when immigrants who entered the country illegally have harmed Americans.
"We've seen there are gang members that are coming across the border. There are people who have come across the border illegally who have murdered American citizens," Scalise stated.
Torres thinks Trump should give up on the wall.
"People will do whatever they have to do to find a safe place to live with their families," he continued.
Rachel Tabor, who interpreted for Torres does not believe a wall will keep people from fleeing unsafe conditions in their homelands and entering the U.S.
"Nothing will detain people who are determined to be with their loved ones. This is not only inhumane, it will be a waste of money. Nothing could keep me away from my family, I don't think it could keep any of us away from our loved ones," Tabor said.
Scalise said the president has a right to protect his country.
"He's got a duty and a responsibility to keep America safe and I'm glad he's focused on doing it and if there's more creative ways he can help secure our border I think that's important for our national security," said Scalise.
"We have to find a way to protect our border to stop drug trafficking and human trafficking the president is thinking of one way, I'm thinking of another," said Cassidy.