Photo by Alexander Willis
By ALEXANDER WILLIS
Congressman Mark Green, county commissioners and citizens from all over Tennessee gathered in Brentwood Friday for Green’s first public town hall since assuming office back in January.
Held at the Tennessee Society of Certified Accountants just south of Old Hickory Boulevard, around 60 or so people filtered into the building’s “Chattanooga Room,” a large conference room, with Green situated at the front of the room, mic at the ready.
Among the various topics discussed in the open forum was the border wall on the southern U.S. border, one of President Donald Trump’s main campaign promises during the 2016 election. Back in February, Trump declared a national emergency in an attempt to secure funding for the border wall, which was ultimately blocked by a Democratically controlled Congress. Still, the topic continues to fiercely divide Americans and politicians alike.
“What are your thoughts on what’s happening at the border right now?” Green asked those in attendance. “Do you support funding more walls, do you support the president’s idea of catch and release in sanctuary cities?”
The first to answer Green’s question called illegal immigration a “problem,” that it was an “invasion into our country,” and that when it comes to those illegally crossing the border, that there was “no assimilation whatsoever going on.”
Another person noted that over 100,000 people had illegally crossed the border in March alone, that most have them had claimed asylum, and “asylum has to be revisited” in the United States.
The next individual was critical of the border wall, telling Green they believed a wall was a “simpleton solution that’s not really going to stop the immigration.” They called the wall a “waste of money,” and that it “doesn’t seem like a permanent solution.”
“This is a good question, Green responded. “Now statistically, the San Diego wall decreased illegal border crossings 92 percent. The wall in El Paso decreased illegal border crossings 95 percent.”
The individual brought up non-citizens who overstay their visas, to which Green conceded that was also a “concern.”
Green then asked all of those in the room to make known their stance on a potential border wall, asking those who supported the wall to raise their right hands, and those opposed to raise their left hands. The room was almost evenly split on the issue.
Green continued with his last response, saying that border security is much more than just the physical barrier itself.
“You bring up a good point in that it’s more than just walls,” Green continued. “Drones are important, I think increasing our judges [is] important for handling the asylum cases, I think our border patrol should be backed. In fact, just here in the last few weeks, the president moved an additional 750 to the actual crossing point.”
Green’s town hall in Brentwood was just the first of seven he will hold in the coming days across Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District. His next stop will be in Hardeman County on Tuesday, April 16.