Freshman Republican Congressman Scott Taylor (VA-2) hosted the Guatemalan Ambassador to the United States, Manuel Espina, in his office in Washington D.C. on Wednesday to discuss the historical relationship between the two nations and their cooperation with ongoing efforts to intercept criminal and narcotic traffic, as well as terrorist activity, in Latin America. The meeting between Congressman Scott Taylor and Ambassador Manuel Espina comes just a few Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced on Christmas Eve that the Central American country would move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Guatemala is the only country to follow President Donald Trump’s move to relocate to the Holy City. The U.S. and Guatemala are two of just nine countries that have voted against the United Nations (UN) resolutions barring nation from moving their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
According to a press release from the Office of Congressman Scott Taylor, the lawmaker said:
“Guatemala is not just a friend of the United States, but a strong ally in our fight against terrorism, drug trafficking, and gang activity. As the major trade partner of Guatemala, the United States accounts for one-third of all imports and exports – an annual value of billions of dollars. Guatemalan intelligence over the past two years has intercepted 44 citizens of Middle Eastern countries attempting to use false documents to gain access to the United States, one of whom had possible ties to ISIS. They continue to be a valuable partner in the counter-narcotics fight. The value of this partnership cannot be overstated. I would like to thank Ambassador Espina for taking the time to meet with me, and I look forward to the continued cooperation between our countries in promoting growth, peace, and security across Central and South America.”
Congressman Scott Taylor appeared on Bloomberg for an interview to discuss what he believes should be done to increase border security as someone who has served in direct response to the increasing threat of drug trafficking and Islamic extremism from America’s southern border. He was also asked about his thoughts on immigration reform and the completion of President Donald Trump’s staunch campaign promise of a border wall.
The Republican lawmaker replied to numerous questions regarding the future of spending on the Mexican border saying:
“I’m a national security guy, I think it’s important to have security on our borders – Republicans have been saying that for a very long time. I agree with the president, quite frankly…[We need] more money for security for the wall, whether that’s technology, people, or [a] physical wall.”
In July, Congressman Scott Taylor voted with majority Republicans in the House to approve a spending bill with $1.6 billion to increase border security. This was the biggest spending increase towards the border in almost a decade with Republican-led appropriations bills. This comes after President Trump is asking Congress for $18 billion over the next 10 years to complete the border wall on the U.S.-Mexico line.
In 2013, both Democrats and Republicans in the House voted for stronger policies in reference to border security. This marked a point where bipartisanship can actually work – a point Congressman Scott Taylor wants to build on in the future.
As reported by the Washington Post, the money would be allotted would pay for 316 miles of new fencing and reinforce another 407 miles where barriers are already in place, according to cost estimates sent to senators Friday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Moreover, when the construction is completed, more than half of the 2,000-mile southern border with Mexico would have a wall and other protections by 2027.
Congressman Scott Taylor also sides with President Trump in regards to the immigration situation in America. Taylor believes the country needs to get “a handle” on chain migration. Furthermore, he explained a merit-based system should be put into place to determine how people from other countries can come into the United States. Currently, immigrants in the U.S. are subject to the “lottery system” in the Green Card Through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program overseen by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
According to the USCIS website, the visa program works on a “random” basis as follows:
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program) makes up to 50,000 immigrant visas available annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The DV Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State (DOS).
Over the past year, President Trump has slammed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as “broken” and “unfair” for Americans. On Tuesday, the president stood at the White House with nearly 20 lawmakers from both chambers in effort to find a solution for the Obama-era executive order. A congressional approach is needed to protect the children currently in the U.S. under the DACA program. Congressman Scott Taylor supports protecting children who are in the country through no fault of their own, saying:
“If you’re in the United States and you commit a crime, we’re not going to arrest your eight-year-old kid if you have him with you – we’re going to arrest you. So you can’t hold the kids accountable for the sins of the parents. This population is known, they have a background check, they’re in a program. They are either in school or the military or working and are not committing a crime…They are assimilated, they are speaking the language and culturally they understand everything.”
Congressman Scott Taylor, a former Navy Seal who served in Iraq and Latin America, is working to build relationships with Central and South American leaders and diplomats to end the violence that plagues the southern border. He’s someone who has been there in person – he has the experience. He battled drug cartels in Central America and along the Mexico border before representing the people of Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.
“I’ve toured the whole border. There are areas that need a physical wall, but others that also need technology, and others that need more border agents. [There are] coyotes that are pushing people across the border that have more nefarious goals in mind. The transit starts down there, illegal immigration and drug [trafficking] starts down in other countries. [It is] important to have Colombia and Mexico on board to help interdict and stop drug trafficking at the source.”
For Taylor, stopping transnational crimes and Islamic extremists starts with having bipartisan legislation in Washington. As someone who is serious about fixing America’s broken immigration system, he is ready to work for people who want to come to the U.S. legally. The children DACA protects should not have to pay for crimes they did not commit and should enjoy protection under the law.
Even though he has only been in Washington for one year, the freshman congressman is working to build international relationships that will benefit both Americans and those coming to settle in the U.S. As a lawmaker, the he also wants to build relationships across the aisle in the House to ensure protection for immigrants. Moreover, Taylor has a clear mission to end the violence started by drugs coming into the country via lackluster border security. Congressman Scott Taylor has proven he’s a fighter on foreign battlefields and will continue to prove himself as a fighter for the American people.