Dear Friends— This past Saturday, President Trump appealed directly to the American people with a bipartisan plan that would end the month-long government shutdown. While not perfect, this plan provides immediate assistance to our southern border, legal certainty for hundreds of thousands of DACA and Temporary Protected Status recipients, and more importantly, allows federal workers to return to work.
Our southern border is facing a true humanitarian and security crisis.
In the month of December alone, border patrol agents apprehended more than 50,000 individuals on our southern border. Of those, a record breaking 27,518 were family units and nearly 5,000 of them were unaccompanied children.
Due in part to the treacherous journey, border patrol refers approximately 50 individuals a day for medical treatment. In just one week, they referred 451 people to medical providers for treatment. Of those, 259 were children.
7 out of 10 people are victims of violence on their journey to the southern border and 31% of women are sexually assaulted.
On top of that, there has been an increase in drug levels coming across our southern border. From Fiscal Year 2017-2018 there was a 38% increase in methamphetamine, a 22% increase in heroin, and a 73% increase in fentanyl.
I have been to the border more times than I can count. I have talked to these families who are risking their lives and the lives of their children to come here. I have heard the stories of Americans whose family members’ lives were cut short due to drugs and bad actors who seek to exploit our immigration system. We owe it to all of these families to do something about this crisis.
Unfortunately, this is a crisis partly of our own making.
For years, members on both sides of the aisle have warned against the growing threats posed by our failure to enforce and reform our nation’s immigration laws.
Just this week, Democrat Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer said:
“We want border security. We want to make sure that people who come into the United States of America are authorized to do so and we know they come in. We don't want contraband. We don't want drugs coming in. We don't want dangerous people coming into the country. So, we're for border security.”
Given this, you would think Democrats would be jumping at the chance to vote for a bill that includes:
- Provisional status for three years for 700,000 current DACA recipients, giving them access to work permits, social security numbers, and protection from deportation.
- Provisional status for three years for 300,000 immigrants whose current temporary protected status is set to expire.
- $805 million for technology, canines and personnel to help stop the flow of illegal drugs, weapons and other contraband.
- $800 million in humanitarian assistance medical support, and new temporary housing.
- $782 million to hire an additional 2,750 border agents, law enforcement and staff.
- $563 million to support our immigration court system, including hiring 75 new immigration judge teams to reduce the immigration court backlog of 800,000 cases.
All of this was included in the reasonable compromise that President Trump put forward over the weekend.
Sadly, Democrats rejected this plan before they even heard the details.
I want you to know I fully understand the real-world consequences this shutdown has caused for federal employees who have bills to pay and families to support.
That is why this week, I put forth a measure to immediately pay federal workers. The motion would ensure that they are paid immediately while we continue working toward a permanent solution that will reopen the government.
Unfortunately, Democrats put politics above federal employees and voted against this common-sense measure.
You can watch my floor speech on the measure to immediately pay federal workers here.
My colleagues on the other side of the aisle must end the political games. It is past time for them to come to the negotiating table and work to resolve this crisis in a reasonable, meaningful way.
Until Congress reaches an agreement, I have requested my pay be withheld until the government is fully operational.
As always, please feel free to contact our Washington, DC and Fort Worth office with any questions you may have.
Member of Congress