President Trump gave a speech from the Oval Office Tuesday night to address the serious problems resulting from illegal immigration, warning of “a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.”
The President urged Congress to take action on a detailed proposal which was developed by law enforcement professionals and border agents at the Department of Homeland Security and presented to Congress by the Trump Administration.
Trump said the plan includes “an urgent request for humanitarian assistance and medical support,” as well as more beds, immigration judges and border agents.
The Homeland Security proposal also includes cutting edge technology for detecting drugs, weapons and other illegal contraband, Trump said.
“These are the resources they have asked for to properly perform their mission and keep America safe,” Trump said.
Trump said the administration proposal further requests that Congress close loopholes in current immigration law “so that illegal immigrant children can be safely and humanely returned back home.”
“Finally, as part of an overall approach to border security, law enforcement professionals have requested $5.7 billion for a physical barrier.”
Concerning the cost of the proposed wall, Trump added that the barrier would quickly pay for itself, as the cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year, an annual sum about 88 times greater than the cost of a simple barrier.
The human cost is also great, Trump said. Heroin alone kills 300 Americans every week. 90% of that heroin “floods across from our southern border.”
“More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War.”
Trump also pointed out that over the years thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by illegal immigrants. ICE officers have arrested, in the past two years, 266,000 aliens with criminal records. Charges in those cases included 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes and 4,000 violent killings, Trump said.
President Trump said the victims are not just Americans.
Trump said women and children are hit hardest by illegal immigration. Last month, a startling 20,000 children were brought to the US illegally. These kids are often used as pawns by violent drug gangs or coyotes.
In addition, 1 in 3 women who trek through Mexico are sexually assaulted during the trip.
“This is a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul,” Trump said.
“Women and children are the biggest victims by far of our broken system. This is the tragic reality of illegal immigration on our southern border,” he said.
“This is the cycle of human suffering that I am determined to end.”
The President said that Democrats in Congress won’t fund border security and have refused to even acknowledge the rapidly-intensifying crisis. Given the choice between funding the administration’s proposal and shutting down the federal government, congressional Democrats have chosen the latter and have not budged an inch.
The border wall, a centerpiece in Trump’s 2016 campaign platform, has apparently been the main sticking point in passing border legislation, although Sen. Chuck Schumer and many other Democrats in Congress have repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past.
Aside from providing statistics related to the humanitarian border crisis and information on Homeland Security’s requests to fulfill their mission, Trump also shared his personal experience in meeting dozens of families of victims who were brutally killed by illegal immigrants in the past 2 years.
“So sad. So terrible,” he said. “I will never forget the pain in their eyes, the tremble in their voices and the sadness gripping their souls.”
Trump noted several recent tragedies including an Air Force vet in CA who was raped and beaten to death with a hammer by an illegal alien who had a long criminal history; a 16-yr-old Maryland girl who was stabbed to death, allegedly by MS-13 members; and an alien recently charged in Georgia for murder after killing and beheading his neighbor.
For Americans, the speech made it clear that ending the humanitarian and security crisis on the border is of paramount importance to the president.
On the contrary, the Democratic rebuttals of Schumer and Pelosi focussed primarily on the government employees who “are about to miss a paycheck” due to the temporary government shutdown.
In her rebuttal, Pelosi said that Trump should “stop manufacturing a crisis” and demanded that he “reopen the government” so that the paychecks of federal employees will not be withheld.
Pelosi also claimed without evidence that much of what she’d heard from President Trump had been “full of misinformation and even malice,” but did not dispute any of the statistics or information in his speech or cite any other instance in which this was the case.
Pelosi said Trump had chosen fear, adding, “We want to start with the facts.”
On the border crisis, Pelosi said that securing our borders must be balanced by “honoring our values,” but did not specify the values of the Democrats to which she was referring.
Among Pelosi’s suggestions were to “build the infrastructure and roads at our ports of entry” and to hire additional personnel in order to “facilitate trade and immigration at the border.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer, in his rebuttal, referred to Trump having a “temper tantrum” and said, “American democracy doesn’t work that way.”
Schumer went on to mock President Trump’s passion about the border crisis:
“No president should pound the table and demand he gets his way or else the government shuts down, hurting millions of Americans who are treated as leverage.”
“This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his Administration,” Schumer said.
“Tonight – and throughout this debate and his presidency – President Trump has appealed to fear, not facts. Division, not unity,” Schumer said, apparently unaware (or in denial) of the facts and statistics about the dangerous drugs and violent crime at the center of the border crisis, which Trump included in his admittedly alarming speech.
“There is no excuse for hurting millions of Americans over a policy difference,” Schumer said. “Federal workers are about to miss a paycheck.”
Trump closed on a hopeful note:
“I have invited congressional leadership to the White House tomorrow to get this done. Hopefully, we can rise above partisan politics in order to support national security.”