Rep. Kelly Statement on President’s Address on Border Security

Jan 8, 2019

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement tonight in response to President Donald J. Trump’s televised address to the nation.

“Tonight, President Trump showed strong leadership and told our entire nation the harsh truth about the crisis at our southern border and the real consequences of illegal immigration. He made his case directly to the American people, who care about defending our country from crime, drugs, and terrorism just as much as he does. A sovereign nation has a right to secure its borders.

“It is clear to me and to most Americans that constructing a wall along portions of our southern border is not only justifiable but long overdue. The recent murder of Officer Ronil Singh in California – a heroic immigrant to our country who not only followed our laws but devoted his life to enforcing them – by an illegal immigrant gang member is just the latest example of why an intrusion-stopping wall is so necessary. To be very clear: there is nothing controversial about enhancing our security by building a border wall—there are currently 700 miles of border barrier already in place along our southern border. As a candidate, President Trump passionately campaigned on this issue and won.

“As the president emphasized, the ongoing partial government shutdown is totally unnecessary and can be ended tomorrow. The House passed a responsible funding bill that the president is ready to sign; at least half the Senate supports that bill. In fact, more than 150 congressional Democrats voted for steel wall funding as recently as last spring.* Democrats who supported a border wall in the past with their words and their votes need to get over their personal hatred of President Trump and put the safety of the American people first.”

NOTES: Despite Democratic leaders declaring "not one cent" for a border wall, many Democrats in the House and Senate have already voted to fund 122 miles of it.

* H.R. 244, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 – provided FY17 funding for 40 miles of steel bollard wall along the southern border. 35 miles have already been completed.

* H.R. 1625, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 – provided FY18 funding for 82 miles of steel bollard wall along the southern border. Construction is expected to begin within the month.

Courtesy of the Office of Minority Whip and the Department of Homeland Security:

President Trump asked career law enforcement agents what they need to do their job and secure our border. His resulting request for 234 miles of new steel wall is a serious plan to stop crime, drugs, and violence pouring over our border from overwhelming our communities. We are facing a humanitarian and national security crisis on our southern border. As outlined in Whip Scalise's recent op-ed, according to the Department of Homeland Security: 

  • Over 17,000 criminals were apprehended at the border in Fiscal Year 2018, many smuggling drugs that fuel the opioid crisis plaguing our country.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents also saved over 900 children from human trafficking and sexual assault last year.
  • Since President Trump took office, ICE agents have made over 235,000 arrests of illegal immigrants with criminal records. These include arrests based on criminal charges or convictions for more than 4,000 homicides and 27,000 sex crime offenses. And today, an average of nearly 2,100 illegal or inadmissible aliens are caught crossing or turned back from our southern border every day.