WASHINGTON, D.C, (WSFA) - Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall traveled to the White House Wednesday for a discussion with President Donald Trump about the impact of cross-border drug trafficking.
Marshall took part in a briefing with the president about trafficking issues at the nation’s southern border, including both at and between points of entry. Trump met with “key stakeholders” in the Roosevelt Room to hear firsthand about what his administration calls a “border crisis.”
Marshall thanked the president "for his willingness to listen to state and local law enforcement on the destructive toll that drug trafficking is taking on our communities and families in Alabama and elsewhere along America’s southern border.”
While Alabama isn’t a border state, Marshall says it’s a prime transit point for drug trafficking. He points to Alabama’s close proximity to Texas and Atlanta, a city he called “a major distribution point for drugs.”
“The reality is that drug trafficking in my state, and across this country, is largely the result of an unsecured border,” Marshall said. "By failing to address this, everybody should understand that we are setting up law enforcement for failure.
A supporter of the Trump administration’s efforts to construct a controversial wall, the meeting took place in the midst of Trump’s national emergency declaration to shore up the southern border.
This is a key time to discuss border security as the president released his proposed 2020 budget on Monday. Border security is among the major focuses of the proposal. The budget allocates more than $8 billion to build sections of wall, which comes on top of the $7 billion already carved out by the president in his emergency declaration.
Marshall agrees with the president going it alone to get his border wall despite some members of his own party separating themselves from the president and saying they will vote to block his declaration.
“I also conveyed to the President that drug trafficking drives violent crime," the AG said. "Just in the past year in Alabama, we have had multiple incidents of violent crime—including crimes against children—committed by illegal immigrants who were here because of their roles in various drug-trafficking organizations. Even after being deported, sometimes multiple times, these criminals return to the drug trade and commit crimes against innocent Alabamians. It is reprehensible that we let this happen in America.”
According to Marshall’s office, the briefing was also attended by Jim Carroll, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; Carla Provost, Chief, U.S. Border Patrol; officials with the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Customs and Border Protection; as well as law enforcement officials from Arizona, Illinois, Massachusetts and Texas. Last August, Attorney General Marshall participated in a White House panel discussion on protecting America’s borders that included high-level officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, as well as governors and senators from other southern border states.