While many have reacted negatively on U.S. Pres. Donald Trump’s plans to secure the southern border by building a wall, the president of the National Sheriffs’ Association called on the public to give Trump a chance.
“We have to give our president the benefit of the doubt,” Sheriff Greg Champagne said, according to Fox Business.
Trump met with various law enforcement agencies earlier this year and emphasized the need to increase security along the southern border and to keep illegal immigration in check.
“It’s been the first time in quite a while that the officers, the leadership of the National Sheriffs’ Association has been invited, not only to the White House, but inside the oval office,” Champagne said.
He agreed that there is a need to secure and enforce the border, adding that in certain places, other structures could be built instead of a wall. Fences and electronic sensors could be set up, for example.
“It’s a long stretch of territory and we just need something that we can enforce the borders,” Champagne said.
At the height of controversy regarding the temporary immigration ban issued by Trump, the National Sheriffs’ Association wrote him a letter expressing their support for his plans. They also thanked him for his “recent show of support for law enforcement, specifically on immigration and border security issues.”
“State and local law enforcement have, in recent years, shouldered much of the burden associated with criminal illegal immigration and the subsequent impact on our communities,” the letter said. “As you have recognized, our borders are not secure and we applaud your efforts to address this threat to our public safety.”
“You have heard our concerns on the deficits of the Priority Enforcement Program and we are encouraged to see the successful Secure Communities program back. Furthermore, we appreciate your affirmation of the 287(g) program and the direction for DHS to reengage sheriffs in that program,” the letter stated.
The sheriffs said they are ready to work with the present administration to ensure the safety of U.S. citizens.
A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the immigration ban, halting its implementation nationwide.
The administration has said it will not immediately file an appeal against the temporary restraining order to the Supreme Court, and Trump said he is considering issuing new security measures. However, the option to take the case to the Supreme Court has not been dismissed.
Trump’s executive order, which temporarily bans immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries including war-torn Syria and Iraq, has caused great disagreement among Americans. Evangelicals, who supported Trump last election, have largely opposed the measure and have urged the president to allow displaced refugees into the country as an act of compassion.
The executive order has also been widely criticized by other sectors of society, especially the liberals. Champagne said if the tables were turned and Democrat Hillary Clinton won the election and she decided to impose the temporary immigration ban, the liberals' reaction would have been different.
“Whether you like President Trump or you don’t like President Trump, all of our presidents had this authority under the statute,” Champagne said, referring to the president’s authority to issue such executive order.
“So, if it were President Clinton right now who was exercising this same authority under this statute, I believe the same people who are screaming about it right now, would be saying how important it is that she had that authority,” he said.