This morning, President Donald J. Trump sent a letter to all members of Congress on the need to secure our borders. He attached a presentation that Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was planning to deliver during a meeting with Congressional leadership in the White House Situation Room earlier this week. Some of those present did not want to hear the presentation at the time, and so the President decided to make it available to all members of Congress. The letter and accompanying presentation has been sent to Congressional Leadership and will be hand delivered to all members of Congress throughout the day. Copies will also be delivered to the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate for their information. Below is the full text of the President’s letter, along with a gallery featuring the presentation slides.
Click here to view slides.
January 4, 2019
Dear Members of Congress:
Congratulations to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and her entire team, on her election to be Speaker of the House. I look forward to working together on our shared priorities for the American People, including rebuilding our infrastructure, reforming unfair trade deals, and reducing the price of prescription drugs. Our recent bipartisan success on numerous legislative accomplishments such as Criminal Justice Reform, opioid legislation, and the Farm Bill, underscores the extraordinary achievements that are possible when we rise above party politics to advance the good of the Nation as a whole.
As we begin this new Congress, our first task should be to reopen the Government and to deliver on our highest duty as elected officials: the security of the Nation and its borders.
A nation that fails to control its borders cannot fulfill its most basic obligations to its citizens—physical safety, economic security, essential public services, and the uniform protection of our laws.
I was grateful for the opportunity to meet with Congressional leadership at the White House this Wednesday to discuss the border security crisis, and the need for a government funding bill that secures the border and keeps Americans safe.
During the meeting, there was debate over the nature and extent of this crisis and its impact on Americans. It had been my hope that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen would have the opportunity to deliver a presentation discussing the facts about the depth and severity of the humanitarian crisis and the security crisis that is now unfolding at the Southern Border.
However, some of those present did not want to hear the presentation at the time, and so I have instead decided to make the presentation available to all Members of Congress. I encourage you to review it carefully, to share it with your staff, and to discuss it with other lawmakers. In crafting a Homeland Security bill, it is essential that we make decisions based upon the facts on the ground—not ideology and rhetoric—and that we listen to the law enforcement personnel on the front lines. The Southern Border is a very dangerous place—in fact, Border Patrol agents routinely encounter some of the most dangerous criminals, cartels, and traffickers anywhere in the world.
Effective border security must dramatically reduce the entry of illegal immigrants, criminals, and drugs; it must keep out terrorists, public safety threats, and those otherwise inadmissible under U.S. law; and it must ensure that those who do enter without legal permission can be promptly and safely returned home.
As the enclosed presentation makes clear, current funding levels, resources, and authorities are woefully inadequate to meet the scope of the problem. We are no longer in a status quo situation at the Southern Border but in a crisis situation. Status quo funding is not enough.
Illegal immigration is NOT progressive—by every measure, it is unfair, unjust, uncompassionate, and cruel. Many people are killed. It hurts both those who make the journey and so many communities bearing the cost in lives, safety, and dollars.
Senator Chuck Schumer once said: “Illegal immigration is wrong, plain and simple. Until the American people are convinced that we will stop future flows of illegal immigration, we will make no progress on dealing with the millions of illegal immigrants who are here now, and on rationalizing our system of legal immigration. That’s plain and simple and unavoidable.”
Absolutely critical to border security and national security is a wall or a physical barrier that prevents entry in the first place. Members of both parties—including then Senators Obama and Clinton, current Senator Schumer, and many other members of the House and Senate—all voted for a hard, physical barrier. Walls work. That’s why rich, powerful, and successful people build them around their homes. All Americans deserve the same protection. In Israel, it is 99 percent effective.
To protect these children from abuse, and stop this illegal flow, we must close these loopholes. This is an urgent humanitarian necessity. Children are terribly used by criminals and coyotes to gain access to our country—they are the biggest victims of all.
The most pressing legal changes are as follows:
Americans have endured decades of broken promises on illegal immigration. Now, is the time for both parties to rise above the partisan discord, to set aside political convenience, and to put the national interest first. Now is the time—this is the moment—to finally secure the border and create the lawful and safe immigration system Americans, and those wanting to become Americans, deserve.
DONALD J. TRUMP
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