by Jason Hopkins
A bill that would allow taxpayers to donate a part of their refunds to a nonprofit collecting money to build more border wall has successfully passed the Alabama Senate.
Alabama state senators voted 23-6 along party lines Thursday in favor of SB 22, the Montgomery Advertiser reported. The legislation would add We Build The Wall Inc. to a list of about 20 groups and programs on state income tax forms that residents can check off and donate with their tax refunds.
“I think it’s a way for Alabamians to say to the president and to the nation that we think strong border security is important. We want to promote that. We want Washington to build that wall,” GOP Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, the bill’s sponsor, stated according to The Associated Press.
“This bill is about sending a message to Washington that we support President Trump and his mission to secure our southern border,” Marsh said, who is mulling a 2020 U.S. Senate bid.
We Build The Wall — which began in December as a viral GoFundMe campaign by Air Force veteran and triple amputee Brian Kolfage — is a nonprofit group that is raising money for wall construction on the U.S.-Mexico border. The GoFundMe page is nearing $21,000,000 in donations.
However, the legislation may be more symbolic than anything else. Before funds from We Build The Wall can be used, Congress must vote to allow the money to be directed to the Department of Homeland Security. Given that the Democratic Party controls the House of Representatives, this is unlikely to happen in the immediate future.
The private contributions are rolling in as President Donald Trump continues to fight for more wall funding. Trump signed into law a resolution that gave him $1.375 billion to build 55 miles of barrier on the Texas border. He then declared a national emergency that has allowed him a total of $8 billion in funding, but numerous progressive groups are suing his emergency declaration in court.
The president, in his latest budget proposal, is asking for an additional $8.6 billion in wall funding.
Back in Alabama, local Democrats derided SB 22, which will later be voted on by the state House.
“What about the Northern border? More people are crossing over the Northern border but you don’t want to pay them any attention,” Alabama state Sen. Bobby Singleton, a Democrat who called the measure a “feel good” bill, said according to AP.
Singleton’s comments are technically correct. Over 960 people have illegally crossed the U.S.-Canada border in 2018, according to government data, representing a 91 percent increase from the previous fiscal year. However, that number remains a minuscule fraction of the apprehensions taking place on the U.S.-Mexico border, where border officials expect to find nearly 100,000 foreign nationals in the month of March alone.
– – –
Jason Hopkins is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation. Follow Jason on Twitter.