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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers talks immigration and addresses concerns that sheriffs won’t enforce gun initiative

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers held a town hall meeting at the Medical Lake Town Hall on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. McMorris Rodgers said she supported a wall and a pathway for undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children. She said she opposed President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, saying it could set a harmful precedent for future leaders. (Rebecca White / The Spokesman-Review)

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers stuck to her positions on immigration and President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency during a town hall in Medical Lake.

In a second forum with College Republicans at Eastern Washington University, she addressed the growing controversy of Washington sheriffs declaring they won’t enforce a citizen initiative on guns approved last year.

McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, fielded questions from about 30 constituents at the Medical Lake City Hall.

She told the crowd in Medical Lake, many of whom shared concerns about undocumented immigrants who are already in the country, that she supported some immigration reform, such as protections for some immigrants who entered the country as children. She added that she supports a strong border and a wall, but disagreed with President Trump’s use of emergency powers.

“I have concerns about the president declaring an emergency, acting unilaterally,” she said. “I have fundamental constitutional concerns about that. Congress is the body that exercises the power of the purse. I have spoken out, and I have said I oppose this.”

She said she also spoke out against President Barack Obama’s use of executive powers during his time in office and was afraid of the precedent one branch of government taking action on its own might set for future leaders.

She told the gathering that she believes special council Robert Mueller’s report on Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election should be released.

“We’ve all been waiting for a long time … (and) we’re all anxious to get the final report.”

McMorris Rodgers addressed concerns among some in the audience about housing at Fairchild Air Force Base and water contamination that was caused by fire retardant use at the base. She said she discussed water contamination and the lack of military housing with Air Force officials and they were responsive to her requests.

Four members of the Eastern Washington University College Republicans also had an informal back and forth with McMorris Rodgers about student loans and ways to get students involved in local political groups.

In response to a student’s question about the refusal of multiple sheriffs in Eastern Washington to enforce I-1639, McMorris Rodgers said she was concerned about the precedent local law enforcement might set by picking and choosing what laws they would like to follow. The initiative put new restrictions on the sale of semi-automatic rifles and requires that firearms be safely stored in homes.

“My approach is to believe that is the law, and we’re going to have to live by the law until the law changes,” she said.

EWU College Republican President Gabe Hernandez said about 15 people are involved in the club, but only four could make it to the meeting. He said the club was recently founded but has difficulty hosting events and attracting members due to the apolitical nature of many EWU students.