GOP congressman who supports border wall deployed to the border

Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger is a reconnaissance pilot in the Air National Guard

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., is a reconnaissance pilot and was deployed to the U.S. southern border this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who supports President Donald Trump’s push for a wall at the southern border, was deployed there this week with his Air National Guard unit, his office reported.

In addition to representing Illinois’ 16th District, Kinzinger is a lieutenant colonel in the Guard who flies reconnaissance aircraft, conducting aerial surveillance.

“In both of these roles, Congressman Kinzinger fights to make our national security stronger, our border more secure, and our communities safer,” communications director Maura Gillespie said in a statement Wednesday. 

Kinzinger has frequently voiced support for a southern border wall in appearances on cable news. But he crossed the party line in January when he voted for a piecemeal spending package without wall funding in order to end a partial government shutdown.

He signed up for the Air National Guard shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and served five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with Wisconsin and Illinois Air National Guard units.

Kinzinger flew border duty three times under former President Barack Obama, doing immigration and drug-smuggling aerial surveillance, he told the Chicago Sun-Times earlier this week.

He described watching two groups attempting illegal entries while flying over a part of Texas.

“One group would cross — the Border Patrol would react. They would go back into the water and the other group would cross and they’d sit here and do this until one can make it in without the Border Patrol reacting,” he told the newspaper.

Kinzinger’s deployment comes as conference committee negotiators debate the militarization of the border ahead of a Friday deadline to reach a budget deal before some federal appropriations run dry.

Sanders: ‘At the end of the day the president is going to build the wall’

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.