“Nobody wins in terms of a shutdown. So our Senate will vote tomorrow on commonsense compromise legislation to secure the border, reopen the government, as well as address key immigration issues for the country.”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke on the Senate floor about the Senate proposal to reopen the government and secure our nation’s southern border.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“Mr. President, ‘to refuse even to talk until the government reopens does no favors to sidelined federal workers and contractors’ – the Washington Post editorial’s message to Democrats.
“The Post says that Democrats should welcome the president’s weekend offer and return to the negotiating table to end the partial government shutdown, which is now in its fifth week.
“I agree. It is time to end this stalemate. It’s time to talk. It’s time to vote.
“The title of the article was ‘Make a Deal, Save the Dreamers.’
“Divided government is a messy business. It’s also serious business.
“Nobody wins in terms of a shutdown.
“So our Senate will vote tomorrow on commonsense compromise legislation to secure the border, reopen the government, as well as address key immigration issues for the country.
“We do have a national security and humanitarian crisis at our southern border.
“President Trump has again requested $5.7 billion – that’s 1/1,000th of federal spending – for a steel barrier system.
“Of the southern border’s almost 2,000 miles, the physical barrier already protects 650 miles.
“The president wants to build more security barriers because we know they are a proven solution.
“In addition, the president is proposing to grant provisional status, a three-year reprieve, for the 700,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals illegal immigrants.
“This three-year reprieve also would cover 300,000 Temporary Protected Status immigrants who have protected status that is expiring.
“These are individuals who have suffered devastation in their lives due to the challenges in Haiti as well as the individuals in Central America.
“We’re talking about over a million people that the president is proposing changes to impact their lives.
“These DACA and TPS measures are an immigration policy Band-Aid –they’re not the solution to everything. They deal with an immediate problem for a limited period of time.
“Once the government reopens, the president plans to hold weekly bipartisan meetings aimed at broader immigration reform.
“Border security policy has always been bipartisan. For decades, presidents and congressional leaders from both parties have supported security barriers to protect the American people.
“In 2006, Senate Democrats including Senator Barack Obama at the time, Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Joe Biden and Senator Chuck Schumer—all of them—voted to construct a physical barrier on the southern border.
“In 2005 then-Senator Obama said, ‘We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked.’
“Then when Senator Obama became President Obama, he actually described the border situation as a crisis, but he failed to fix it.
“President Trump resolved to fix the decades-old problem. That’s when Democratic leaders suddenly changed their tune and they withdrew support for securing the border.
“They dug in their heels, prolonging the partial government shutdown.
“Even President Obama’s last Border Patrol chief Mark Morgan, he supports President Trump’s efforts.
“President Trump did not keep him in the job. But Mark Morgan has said, and he was on television the other day, that building the wall is key to solving the security crisis, and the president, President Trump, should ‘stay the course.’
“Still, Democrats refuse to negotiate with this president. So we can’t reopen the affected federal agencies and pay the 800,000 furloughed federal workers.
“President Trump has the truth on his side. Here is the Homeland Security Department’s assessment of the border situation:
“Each month 60,000 illegal immigrants reach the border.
“Drug smuggling spiked in 2018, with a 38 percent increase in methamphetamine, a 22 percent increase in heroin and a 73 percent increase in fentanyl.
“We also saw a surge in arrests of dangerous criminals, including 17,000 adults with criminal records and 6,000 MS-13 and other gang members.
“In 2018, 60,000 unaccompanied children and 161,000 families reached the border – a dramatic increase from 2017. Many were victimized along their journey.
“The Border Patrol areas that do have enhanced or expanded physical barriers, they have seen a dramatic decrease in illegal traffic.
“That is why the president has requested additional funds to construct more barriers.
“All Americans want a healthy immigration system that enforces the law and keeps families together.
“The president has put a reasonable bipartisan compromise on the table to end this partial shutdown and to pay furloughed federal workers.
“President Trump is ready to sign this legislation. The Senate will vote on it tomorrow.
“Then House Democrats hold the keys to reopening the government.
“Democrats should stop playing politics, I believe, and meet President Trump in the middle.
“Let’s vote to secure the border and vote reopen the government.”