The Administration strongly supports the inclusion of $5 billion for border wall construction and associated technology in the Homeland Security appropriations bill recently introduced in the House of Representatives. This funding is critical to the Administration’s top priority, securing the Nation’s borders. It will enable the construction of over 200 miles of new physical barrier along the Southern border, including associated surveillance technology and access roads. These investments are essential to deterring, preventing, and denying illegal border crossings by would-be illegal immigrants, human traffickers, criminal aliens, child smugglers, and drug dealers.
The Administration understands that difficult decisions had to be made to provide this funding, in part because of Congress’s allocation of funds to lower-priority or unnecessary programs. The Administration also recognizes that, in this instance, arcane congressional rules require tradeoffs we would not otherwise support. It further appreciates the commitment of the House Committee on Appropriations to increasing the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention beds, as well as accelerating the hiring of ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, although even more of both are needed. As the appropriations process continues, the Administration will continue to advocate for the full 2019 Budget request levels for these priorities and for a Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker.
The Administration also renews its commitment to work with the committee to identify appropriate offsets. In this regard, President Trump’s 2019 Budget request suggests billions in potential cuts to non-defense discretionary spending. The Administration urges Congress to leverage these and other suggestions to cut non-defense discretionary spending so that national priorities like border security and immigration enforcement can be fully funded without further jeopardizing the Nation’s fiscal well-being.
President Donald J. Trump has repeatedly noted that border security is national security. The 9/11 terrorist attacks tragically underscore the critical importance of a secure immigration and visa system. The Administration also continues to condemn the Left’s shameless and immoral attacks on the law enforcement officers of ICE and CBP who risk their lives daily to protect our families, our economy, and our beloved Nation. Ensuring funds for the wall, additional ICE and CBP officers, and detention beds is critical to protecting the Nation against illegal immigration, crime, and terrorism.