VIDEO: Udall Speaks Out Against President Trump’s Unnecessary and Ineffective Border Wall
Amid President Trump’s threats to shut down the government over wall funding, Udall calls on the President to stop playing politics with New Mexico’s border communities
Udall: “New Mexico and other border states have the most at stake in this fight. And we will be heard.”
WASHINGTON -- Today, with just a few days left before the Friday deadline to fund parts of the federal government, U.S. Senator Tom Udall took to the Senate floor to speak out against President Trump’s threat to shut down the government over funding for his unnecessary and ineffective border wall.
Udall called on President Trump to stop playing politics with our border communities, the federal budget, and taxpayer dollars, and urged him to end his push for a wasteful wall that would inflict disruptive and damaging consequences on New Mexico families and border communities. He also demanded that the administration conduct an objective, thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Jakelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old girl who fled Guatemala to seek asylum and died while in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody earlier this month.
Key excerpts from Senator Udall’s remarks include:
Carrying a message from New Mexico’s border communities, Udall began: “We will not stand by as the president threatens to shut down the government in an act of political extortion. As the president tries to force the American people to pay for his border wall – a wall that would run right through New Mexico, and through so many of the communities and ecosystems that define our state.”
On the need for a full and thorough investigation into the tragic death of Jakelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old girl from Guatemala who died in CBP custody: “Last week, we learned of a terrible tragedy along our border. On December 8th, a 7-year old girl from Guatemala – Jakelin Caal Maquin — died from septic shock, fever, and dehydration while in Customs and Border Protection custody. The sadness of the loss of this little girl – coming to our country with her father in search of safety — cannot be overstated. It is truly heart breaking.”
“I have called upon Secretary Nielsen, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner McAleenan, and the Office of the Inspector General to immediately and thoroughly investigate the circumstances of Jakelin’s death. All facts must be brought to light so that no family faces such a tragedy again.”
On the president’s threat to shut down the government over funding for an unpopular and wasteful border wall: “Once again, the president says he’ll shutter the federal government unless we appropriate billions of dollars for his border wall. This obvious political ploy -- aimed at his narrowing base – is the same tired and hateful refrain that he’s used since the day he launched his campaign for president. The president’s anti-immigrant attacks are now a staple in his political tool box. They are no surprise."
But Congress should not give in to the president’s latest anti-immigration tantrum. A tantrum that is not based in reality, and that fundamentally lacks the support of the American public.”
On why a costly and divisive border wall is an ineffective and unnecessary way to secure the border: “The fact is, the numbers of border apprehensions are down significantly. Since the early 2000s, southern border apprehensions have dropped 81 percent. In fact, the number of apprehensions at the end fiscal year 2017 was the lowest it’s been since 1971. And we have the lowest number of undocumented immigrants in our country than we’ve had in over a decade… So who are the people coming to our southern border Apprehensions between ports of entry consist largely of family units turning themselves in for asylum, fleeing the terror in their home countries. They are crossing between ports in part because of DHS’s obstacles to asylum at ports of entry — including inadequate resources for staffing and infrastructure at our ports, metering individuals trying to claim asylum, and the ever-increasing Trump-manufactured wait times.”
“So – given the number of southern border apprehensions is at an all-time low and the makeup of our southern border crossers -- now is not the time to raid taxpayer-funded coffers for a boondoggle of a wall. Now is the time to begin talking across the aisle about how to meaningfully address the root causes of migration from Central America. And not only that: Border walls have not been shown to effectively increase security, or to reduce smuggling or improper entry.”
On the grave damage that a border wall would do to border communities, businesses, and ecosystems across southern New Mexico: “But the wall isn’t just wasteful and unnecessary. It would also do serious harm to the border region. While a border wall won’t effectively address border security -- it will disrupt border communities, hurt international trade, interfere with private property rights, and damage habitat and wildlife… Adding 65 miles of border barrier through the Lower Rio Grande Valley would damage this area of profound environmental and ecological significance. A wall harms ecosystems, disrupts wildlife migration patterns, blocks vital wildlife access to food and water, and fragments wildlife communities.”
The full text of Udall’s remarks as prepared for delivery is available HERE.
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