State Politics

NC’s Tillis and Rouzer tour Mexican border in Texas

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis
U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis

Two of North Carolina’s members of Congress are spending their break in Texas checking out the country’s security efforts along the Mexican border.

Sen. Thom Tillis of Mecklenburg County and U.S. Rep. David Rouzer of Johnston County, both Republicans, are part of a Congressional delegation that’s in the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas on Monday “to learn about border security, trade, and economic development issues unique to the region,” according to a news release from Tillis’ office.

Tillis, Rouzer and others were scheduled to tour the border on land and by boat, including a stop at a border wall along the Rio Grande river’s levees. President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for expansions of border walls to reduce illegal immigration.

Other stops include the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint and the McAllen Border Patrol Station.

Tillis has been working on a bipartisan immigration reform plan. He recently told The Wall Street Journal that his plan would aim to tighten border security and toughen enforcement of immigration laws, while providing some kind of protective legal status for the roughly 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

Back home in North Carolina, Tillis is facing calls to hold town halls to hear from constituents while Congress takes a break. His office has said it prefers other ways of gathering input because “it has become apparent that some individuals, who are not really interested in meaningful dialogue, attend town halls just to create disruptions and media spectacles.”

Instead of town halls, Tillis meets privately with constituents in his offices and hosts telephone-based question-and-answer group sessions and Facebook Live chats, his spokesman said.

On Monday, the N.C. Democratic Party criticized the refusal of Tillis and U.S. Sen. Richard Burr to hold town hall meetings. Party spokesman Mike Gwin was critical of Tillis’ Texas trip: