Higgins: Media miss point on immigration, trade
Border security, immigration and the effects of tariffs have been hot-button topics throughout the nation.
As far as U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins is concerned, important details of those subjects are missed by merely looking at national headlines.
Higgins, a Port Barre Republican who represents Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes St. Mary and St. Martin parishes, spoke on some of those details while visiting Abbeville on Friday morning.
President Donald Trump recently announced tariffs on imports of aluminum and steel, prompting other nations to place tariffs on U.S. exports, including soybeans, an essential crop to Vermilion Parish.
“We have been in constant contact with stakeholders here and the people I represent,” Higgins said. “I have had many conversations, meeting, and teleconferences with leaders of industry and agriculture.”
While some have said the tariffs will be a negative for businesses, farmers, and consumers in this country, Higgins said the aim of the tariffs is a better situation for Americans.
“The presidents’ goal here is not to injure American business,” Higgins said. “It’s repairing something that no one has had the courage to do, from the presidential level. That is to go to these major nation states that we trade with, that have been taking advantage of our generosity. They have been accessing the No. 1 market in the world, the consumer of the United States of America.They have been unfair.”
Higgins said that aspect can’t be pinned on any recent administration.
“You can go back as far as you want,” Higgins said. “You can go way back to find trade imbalance. Every deal has favored the other nation-state. When America has a level field, America wins.
“The president’s goal is to level that playing field.”
Higgins said he feels that goal will be met.
“I support the President’s overall goal,” Higgins said. “I want to bring wins back to America. It is going to require patience and some faith.”
Some of that has already been shown.
“Just last week,” Higgins said, “the European Union announced that it completely relaxed sanctions and tariffs on liquefied natural gas and soybeans.
“Does that sound like Louisiana?” Higgins added with a smile.
While Louisiana is not situated on the U.S.-Mexico border, Higgins said that as someone who has a vote in the House of Representatives, his vote can affect Americans who live in states that are on the border.
With that in mind, Higgins took time last year to scout the nearly 2,000-mile border, from south Texas to southern California.
“I talked to border security to see what they need,” Higgins said. “I wanted to see what is working for them and what needs improvement.
Some of them needed different things, from tech to roads being built, to four-wheel drive trucks to horses.
“We are giving them what they need to secure our borders.” As for one of Trump’s campaign promises, Higgins said a border wall will be useful in certain spots.
“We don’t need 2,000 miles of wall,” Higgins said. “We are not building a Great Wall of China. We don’t need 2,000 miles. You don’t need a 30-foot wall on top of a 200-foot cliff. You need 75 miles of the wall here and 30 miles there. You need about 900 in all.
“Not that it can’t be overcome (by someone trying to cross the border), but it’s a heck of a delay.”
For the countless people trying to cross the border, many of who are from Central America, Higgins said they want is not to keep people from immigrating to this country.
“America is the most generous and compassionate nation ever,” Higgins said. “America has, by far, the most generous immigration policy of any nation. Check what immigration looks like in Germany, France and some of these other countries. The laws we have are not harsh, but the laws we have must be enforced.”
For those crossing who are seeking asylum, Higgins said that is not off the table for anyone trying.
“We have 11 American consulates purposely placed across Mexico,”
Higgins explained. “They process the legal applications for asylum or political refugee status. We have that. It’s there. There are processes to seek asylum where you will not be separated you’re your child.”
Higgins is being challenged by Democrats Mildred "Mimi" Methvin, Larry Rader, "Rob" Anderson and Verone Thomas, by Republican Josh Guillory and by Libertarian Aaron J. Andrus.