WASHINGTON — Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval joined a growing number of officials Wednesday who dismissed the effectiveness of building a wall along the 2,000-mile border between the United States and Mexico.
President Donald Trump announced his intentions to construct a barrier as part of his crackdown on illegal immigration, and to fulfill a campaign promise that energized his Republican base.
Others, however, were less than enthusiastic about the prospect of spending more than $20 billion to erect structures along a border that spans four U.S. states.
“On my list of things to be done, that wouldn’t be one of them,” Sandoval told an audience attending a National Governors Association meeting at the Newseum in Washington.
Sandoval, the vice chairman of the NGA, said there are other more important things to spend time and energy on.
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., called the wall a gimmick by a president whose approval ratings are the low.
“It is a stunt to galvanize his supporters and a transparent attempt to boost his low poll numbers,” Titus said.
Trump has claimed Mexico will pay for the border wall, even though Mexican officials have scoffed at the idea.
The executive order for the wall was signed on the day that Luis Videgaray, Mexico’s foreign minister, arrived in Washington to prepare for a visit next week by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., said Trump is moving forward on “an incredibly costly and ineffective border wall that will do nothing to improve our national security.”
“Make no mistake: I firmly believe in securing our border. However, I am afraid this is just the first step in what will be a pattern from the Trump administration of putting tough talk ahead of smart, thoughtful immigration policy,” Cortez Masto said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Mexico, posted a picture on Twitter holding a sign that said “I stand with New Americans, #NoBanNoWall.”
“President Trump’s actions today are wrong for immigrant families, wrong for our values, and wrong for our country,” Kihuen said in a statement. “Rather than rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create millions of jobs, President Trump is throwing money down the drain for a wall that will not work. Instead of working to heal, the president is choosing to divide, doubling down on anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies.”
Jacob Deaville, co-founder and acting treasurer for UNLV Campus Conservatives, which has opposed the push to make the university a sanctuary campus, said his group views the construction of the border wall as a positive move.
“It’s another promise he’s fulfilling and he isn’t even 10 days into his presidency,” Deaville said. “In the scope of him securing our country’s national defense, and that immigration laws are being upheld on a national level, it’s great to hear.”
Staff writer Natalie Bruzda contributed to this report.
Contact Gary Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.