GREAT FALLS – Montana’s senior U.S. Sen. Jon Tester stopped by the Montana This Morning set Monday to discuss some matters impacting the state and nation.
The conversation kicked off with a discussion about Tester’s recent trip to the southern border in McAllen, Texas and the Rio Grande Valley. Tester called the southern border a complex issue. He mentioned seeing work with both cars and pedestrian traffic at the ports as well as viewing part of the wall construction.
“Overall, I think what we need to do in regards to El Salvador, Guatemala, and even Nicaragua to a certain point, we’ve got to figure out what the push factors are and try to stop those people from leaving those countries to begin with,” he said.
Tester added he doesn’t think somebody from Guatemala, for example, wants to make a month-long trip through Mexico to get to the southern border.
“On the other side, we need to make sure we have facilities there and make sure the border protection and customs folks have what they need to be successful,” he said.
Tester said President Trump’s emergency declaration about funding the border wall, including pulling money from military construction projects, raises some problems.
“We’ve got weapon storage systems out of Malmstrom that have been on a list for years and years and finally were in the queue to be built next year,” he said. “We’ve got an apron up at the Guard since we changed the mission from fighter to cargo mission. We need that apron expanded.”
Tester said nobody knows yet what projects will be eliminated.
“The truth of the matter is these military construction projects enable us to be successful when there’s conflict. If they’re not there, it makes us less secure,” he said.