DEMOCRATS SAY TRUMP INVOKING “FEAR,” NOT “FACTS”
by Sharon Rondeau
The impasse over border security began at midnight on December 21, 2018, when both chambers of Congress failed to pass an appropriations bill providing funding for the border wall Trump has said he wants to build or reinforce along the US-Mexico border to provide for better national security. Approximately 25% of the federal government is shut down. Although on Friday the U.S. House of Representatives passed an appropriations bill with the intent of reopening shuttered agencies, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will not bring it to the floor if Trump will not sign it.
Negotiations between the administration and congressional leaders have failed to produce a compromise, and on Friday afternoon during a press conference, Trump stated that he is considering declaring a “national emergency” and using executive authority to build a wall or “steel barrier,” which he said Democrats prefer, on the southern border.
On Wednesday morning, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that Trump is still considering the use of executive authority but that he prefers that Congress and he reach an agreement on border security.
“More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War,” Trump said early in his speech. He then stressed that thousands of criminal illegal aliens were interdicted by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency last year.
Trump said that illegal-alien children brought into the country are “used as human pawns by vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs.” “Women and children are the biggest victims of our broken system,” he said.
He also invoked the December 26, 2018 death of Newman, CA Cpl. Ronil Singh, who was shot to death in the line of duty by an illegal alien suspected of driving while intoxicated. The alien had been arrested at least twice before on the same charge and was reportedly being protected by family members, also illegal aliens, after leaving the crime scene which left Singh mortally wounded.
Singh left behind a wife and five-month-old son, a brother and other family members, all of whom immigrated legally from Fiji.
“My administration has presented Congress with a detailed proposal to secure the border and stop the criminal gangs, drug smugglers and human traffickers,” Trump said, to include increased “technology,” more immigration judges, and housing accommodations for illegals entering the country.
The address lasted approximately ten minutes and was followed by a 4:53 rebuttal from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“We all agree we need to secure our borders,” Pelosi said. “The fact is, the women and children at the border are not a security threat; they are a humanitarian challenge, a challenge that President Trump’s own cruel and counterproductive policies have only deepened.”
She said that Trump “must reopen the government” and “stop holding the American people hostage.”
Schumer characterized Trump’s insistence on a border wall a “temper tantrum” and said that the president has stoked “fear” rather than invoked “facts” to discuss problems at the border.
“Democrats and the president both want stronger border security; however, we sharply disagree with the president about the most effective way to do it,” he said.
“Separate the shutdown from arguments over border security,” Schumer suggested as a solution to the impasse.
Of the shutdown’s effects, Schumer said that “federal workers are about to miss a paycheck,” would-be homeowners cannot secure mortgages, and that “farmers and small businesses will not get loans they desperately need.” He said that Trump is using the shutdown to “manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration.”
Both Pelosi and Schumer called upon Trump to “reopen the government and we can work to resolve our differences over border security.”
Please share your thoughts in the “Comments” section on both addresses and what, if anything, should be done about border security.