In an interview with LA Weekly contributor Sara Corcoran, U.S. Rep. Nanette Barragan noted the alarming fact that the Port of Los Angeles experiences about 20 million cyber-attacks per month.
Barragan also explained why the infamous “Trump wall” is more like a speed bump, dismissing the president’s much-discussed “infrastructure plan” as insignificant, while pledging to continue her efforts on DACA, saying that “… frankly, I have had meetings with the Democratic leadership conveying to them that our communities feel the Senate Democratic leadership has turned their backs [on them]” and “I have been the person who has been willing to stand up and be vocal against my own Democratic leadership so we are going to continue to do that.”
Speaking about the impact of the President’s infrastructural plan on the ports, she stated it does not make a significant financial investment in any part of the infrastructure, the ports included.
“The proposed $200 billion in this plan is woefully insufficient to help rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. The American Association of Port Authorities has identified $66 billion in infrastructure needs at our ports alone. This bill is an unserious attempt to deal with the challenges we face,” Barragan stated.
She claimed that ports are an essential part of the communities and that San Pedro and Wilmington, in particular, grew hand-in-hand with the port.
“Part of my mission in Washington is to ensure that the port will continue to provide good-paying jobs for our communities and fuel the national economy. The growth and prosperity of our communities is deeply connected to the future of the port,” she stated.
When speaking about cyber-security, Barragan has a very serious approach. She said that after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s new indictments against Russian nationals who meddled in the 2016 elections, it is very clear that their goals were to undermine faith in our democratic institutions, erode support for Secretary Clinton, and prop up the campaign of Donald Trump.
“Playing defense in cybersecurity is very difficult and it is going to take a government-wide commitment to prevent further election meddling in 2018. I am committed to supporting every effort to protect our election systems and integrity from future interference,” Barragan claimed.
Referring to DACA, she mentioned that are an estimated 8,000 recipients thus they want a Clean Dream Act and she has been having meetings with the Senate Democratic Leadership conveying to them that their communities feel the Senate Democratic leadership has turned their backs on (them).
“I have been calling for the Clean Dream Act for a long time. When other bills started coming forward like the Aguilar-Hurd bill [Reps. Peter Aguilar (D-Calif) and Will Hurd (R-Texas)] which is a combination of DACA protection and border security. We spoke in favor of it as a way start having a conversation about what we can do to get the protections if there is going to be a compromise [on the president’s wall],” she stated.
On the issue of the border wall, she vouches for putting more customs and border protection (CBP) officers at the ports of entry.
“Look, I represent the Port of Los Angeles. They have a staffing shortage there. If you put more officers there it is going to improve security and efficiency in the movement of cargo. It’s going to help the economy and it’s going to help create jobs down there. So there are much smarter ways for us to use that money,” Barragan stated.
As for spending money on the border wall, she notes that the money might be better invested elsewhere.
Barragan also wants to tweak a federal housing voucher program so that areas not using their full allotment might see those resources shifted to places like Los Angeles, where officials use 100 percent of the allotment. Barragan also notes the vouchers would focus on military veterans and their families.
“There are a lot of things we can do,” she says, although at other times her frustration with the Democratic leadership becomes clear, especially when it comes to getting even bipartisan bills scheduled for a vote.