FREDERICK, Md. - The sheriff of Frederick County, Maryland, is among three dozen sheriffs from across the country who sent a letter to Congress demanding funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall.
Four-term Sheriff Chuck Jenkins has long been an outspoken conservative.
“The cost of doing nothing is much more enormous than building the damn wall,” Jenkins said in an interview with FOX 5.
He says Frederick County has seen the impacts of illegal border crossings and believes a wall on the Mexican border is the only real solution.
“The elements that come across our border, be it criminal gangs, be it criminals in general, the drugs that flow through the borders, they infest our communities,” Jenkins said.
FOX 5 asked why taxpayers should be on the hook for the $5 billion that Trump is demanding from Congress when he’s repeatedly vowed that Mexico would pay for the wall.
“Because we are on the hook for every other expense,” said Jenkins. “So I think in the long-term, building this wall, whatever this wall consists of, is far less expensive than what it’s going to cost us in the future by doing nothing.”
Jenkins referenced education, healthcare, law-enforcement, corrections, public safety and social programs for undocumented immigrants.
Though Republicans control Congress, Trump does not have the votes for a wall. The president has said he would be “proud” to partially shut down the government later this week if lawmakers don’t provide the $5 billion in funding.
“Very honestly, I think government shutdowns are foolish because at the end of the day, everybody takes off, employees who are affected take off, they all come back to work, they all get their backpay,” said Jenkins. “So I think shutting down the government is nonsense.”
With the shutdown deadline coming Friday night, Democrats in Congress aren’t budging on the $1.3 billion they have proposed for border fencing and additional security.
“We need strong border security,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). “But what we don’t want to do is waste taxpayer dollars on an unnecessary wall for the entire length of the U.S. border. Experts tell us this is not the smartest, most cost-effective way to fund border security.”
As Democrats prepare to take the House of Representatives in January, Jenkins admits he doesn’t expect to ever see the border wall.
“Do I have a real hope? Yes,” Jenkins said. “Do I think it’s going to happen? No, I don’t. I think it’s a shame.”
The partial shutdown would impact 800,000 government workers, about half of whom would be forced to continue working without pay.