McConnell on Border Crisis: It is Long Past Time for Action
‘As long as Democrats continue to drag their feet on this crisis - as long as they keep slow-walking funding that everyone from President Trump to the New York Times sees is necessary - then my colleagues across the aisle will continue to own the consequences. It’s on them. So I hope my Democratic colleagues will allow this legislation to move forward soon. No more poison-pill policy riders. No more political posturing.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the humanitarian crisis at our southern border and the urgent need for border security:
“Now, in addition to nominations, there are a number of other important items the Congress ought to be able to tackle in the next several weeks. As I’ve mentioned several times, we need continued negotiations between the Senate, the House, and the White House toward a bipartisan government funding agreement to set up the appropriations process. We’ll also need to complete a National Defense Authorization Act to address critical national security challenges, rebuild our military’s readiness, and modernize our armed forces to address the growing challenges posed by great power competitors like Russia and China.
“And the headlines remain filled with the unacceptable, unsustainable security crisis and humanitarian crisis on our southern border. By now I’m confident that every member of Congress has heard the breathtaking numbers. We’ve all heard the chaos analyzed a thousand different ways. What we haven’t seen is any appetite on the Democratic side for actually getting an outcome. We haven’t seen Democrats put aside their reflexive opposition to anything the president requests and face the facts. So allow me to repeat some of those facts yet again. I hope they will sink in soon.
“One week ago this morning, border agents encountered the largest group of people attempting an illegal crossing that they have ever seen. They apprehended more than 1,000 individuals. The largest group ever. For consecutive months now the men and women who guard our border have apprehended more than 100,000 people. That is each month. We are talking about numbers not seen for more than a decade. And as we all know, in particular, the amount of families and children are consistently record-breaking as well.
“The officials whom we trust to protect our borders – not to mention feed, clothe, and house these individuals – have been crying out for months that their agencies are stretched to the breaking point. One processing center that was designed to hold 125 individuals has had to hold 900. The Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement has predicted the program for unaccompanied children may exhaust all its funding this month and need to reduce operations.
“Here is one newspaper reporting on testimony from the head of the Border Patrol: ‘The flood of migrants has overwhelmed Border Patrol stations and other federal facilities, forcing immigration agents to release migrants directly into U.S. border communities with only the hope that they’ll appear for their immigration court hearings.’ So this funding crisis is directly weakening our border security and national security. It is directly worsening the conditions for these men, women, and children. And the authorities are pleading for our help.
“I dare say there have not been many occasions, when the editorial board of the New York Times has chosen to side with the Trump Administration. But this crisis is so bad, and the next step is so obvious, that it has united President Trump, Republicans here in Congress, and the New York Times editorial page. Here was the title of their editorial, about a month ago: ‘Congress, Give Trump His Border Money.’
“They described, quote, ‘a humanitarian crisis of overcrowding, disease and chaos… As resources are strained and the system buckles, the misery grows.’ They published that editorial while we were finalizing the disaster funding legislation. There was no reason why the funds to alleviate the humanitarian crisis at the border should not have been included. And yet my friend the Democratic Leader came to the floor multiple times late last month to call the issue of border funding, quote, ‘extraneous.’
“Well, let me be clear, addressing the security crisis and humanitarian crisis is not ‘extraneous.’ It is essential. Migrants are experiencing overcrowded and under-equipped facilities. Our law enforcement and humanitarian professionals are crying out for help. Look — I understand that my Democratic colleagues find it extremely difficult to put partisanship aside and work with the president the American people elected. I think the whole country sees very clearly that Democrats in Congress seem to prefer picking fights with this president to actually getting much done. But their partisan spite must not prolong this misery any longer.
“As long as Democrats continue to drag their feet on this crisis – as long as they keep slow-walking funding that everyone from President Trump to the New York Times sees is necessary – then my colleagues across the aisle will continue to own the consequences. It’s on them. So I hope my Democratic colleagues will allow this legislation to move forward soon. No more poison-pill policy riders. No more political posturing. It’s long past time for action.”
Related Issues: Immigration, Homeland Security