The Border Crisis is Unacceptable and Unsustainable
‘Partisan theater in the House doesn’t improve the conditions in border shelters. Melodramatic hearings and presidential harassment don’t secure the border. ‘The Resistance’ doesn’t pay the bills. This spectacle of opposition for opposition’s sake, even on such an obvious non-partisan priority, has been more than embarrassing. It’s completely irresponsible… We’re going to act in the Senate. And we’re going to move forward to provide the funding necessary to try to solve this humanitarian crisis.
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:
“The Trump Administration’s new agreement with Mexico marks an important breakthrough in the ongoing border crisis. It kept harmful tariffs from going into effect and cemented new steps to make certain that immigration enforcement and the rule of law are priorities on both sides of the border.
“But, of course, the Mexican government was not the only outstanding party with an unmet responsibility to address this crisis. Here in Congress, we have been waiting for six weeks – six weeks -- now for our Democratic colleagues to get serious about the administration’s urgent request for more resources for border security and humanitarian efforts.
“This week’s progress with our Mexican neighbors throws Democrats’ refusal to act into even starker relief. My colleagues and I have come to the floor day after day, week after week, detailing all the evidence that our southern border is in a state of crisis. The inflow of would-be illegal immigrants is unprecedented. Our facilities and our efforts to house and care for the individuals we detain are stretched to the breaking point.
“In short, the men and women stationed on our southern border are running on fumes. They’ve been charged with a task that circumstances have made incredibly difficult, and they are begging for more funding to keep up. As I noted yesterday, the most recent data show that apprehensions last month reached a thirteen-year high. Higher numbers in every category: More individuals, more family units, and more unaccompanied children. Arriving at border facilities that are already over capacity.
“The Border Patrol is teetering on the brink. They’re nearing the point where they’ll be unable to perform even the most basic humanitarian and security functions for lack of resources. And this is even with funds being diverted away from other important priorities at the Department of Homeland Security on a contingency basis.
“Let me say that again, one more time. The Department of Homeland Security has had to pull money and people off of other critical missions just to try and meet the overwhelming surge of human traffic at the border. This is the department that includes the Transportation Security Administration, the Secret Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard. And Congress’s inaction has backed them into this corner. The officials who are responsible for protecting the homeland and safeguarding these individuals could not have been clearer in their pleading to Congress. They could not have been clearer.
“The acting Homeland Security Secretary has told us already that, quote, ‘Given the scale of what we are facing, we will exhaust our resources before the end of this fiscal year.’ The acting director of Immigrations and Custom Enforcement has said, quote, ‘We are begging.’ Begging. ‘We are asking Congress to please help us.’ By any honest reckoning, this constitutes a crisis. And that’s why Americans across the entire political spectrum agree that Democrats in Congress need to put aside their allergy to finding any inch of common ground with President Trump and finally agree to get something done.
“Because, we know exactly what the hold up has been here. The New York Times reported in late May exactly why this money didn’t make it into the disaster funding package, despite Republican efforts. Quote: ‘Democrats balked at allocating billions of dollars more toward border security.’ Democrats balked at the New York Times. Around the same time, one House Democrat admitted as much. He told reporters, ‘In my opinion, we do have to come up with some money. But we’ve got to convince our more progressive friends…’
“Well, I’m sorry that a security and humanitarian crisis is not convincing enough to the far left. I’m sorry that two separate New York Times editorials haven’t made an impact on House Democrats either. So here you have it. The New York Times editorial page, May 5th – incredibly enough: ‘Congress, Give Trump His Border Money.’ That’s the New York Times saying give Trump the border money. They didn’t listen. So several weeks later, on May 23rd, as I quoted: ‘Democrats balked at allocating billions of dollars more toward border security.’
“So June 9th, a couple days ago, the New York Times: ‘When Will Congress Get Serious About the Suffering at the Border?’ So here you have a situation -- you’ve got the Donald Trump Administration and the New York Times on the same side. And House Democrats don’t want to take this up. Goodness. I’m having a hard time remembering the last time the New York Times editorial page was on the same side as the Trump Administration or Republicans in Congress.
“Not a common sight. But here we are. All of us agree the border crisis is unacceptable and unsustainable. But still, House Democrats will not act. Yesterday, even my colleague the Democratic Leader admitted where this extended delay is coming from. He told reporters, ‘The House wasn’t for it, but we were.’ Yeah, I guess that was true. But in any event, that’s where we are now. The House Democrats are the problem.
“So, if they’re serious about wanting to resolve this, I hope they can get a grip on their far-left colleagues in a hurry. So, here’s what we’re going to do. Chairman Shelby has announced the Appropriations Committee will vote on a $4.5 billion package a week from tomorrow. More than $3 billion in humanitarian funds to do things like expand shelter facilities and increase dedicated care for unaccompanied children. And another billion dollars to prop up critical security missions.
“I’m grateful for Chairman Shelby’s interest in this, his leadership and the work of Senator Capito and Senator Blunt. I cannot urge my Democratic friends strongly enough to finally – what does it take to convince them? -- get serious and find their way to ‘yes.’ House Democrats may want to come down to the left of the New York Times editorial page. There’s not much space over there. The rest of the country thinks this is just crazy. Because it is.
“Partisan theater in the House doesn’t improve the conditions in border shelters. Melodramatic hearings and presidential harassment don’t secure the border. ‘The Resistance’ doesn’t pay the bills. This spectacle of opposition for opposition’s sake, even on such an obvious non-partisan priority, has been more than embarrassing. It’s completely irresponsible. It needs to end soon. In the coming days, it will. We’re going to act in the Senate. And we’re going to move forward to provide the funding necessary to try to solve this humanitarian crisis.”
Related Issues: Immigration, Senate Democrats, Homeland Security