END THE SHUTDOWN; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 5
(House of Representatives - January 10, 2019)

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                            END THE SHUTDOWN

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Maryland (Mr. Brown) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BROWN of Maryland. Mr. Speaker, there is a crisis in our country, 
but it is not at our southern border. There is a crisis mounting at 
every airport, every national park, in the homes of furloughed Federal 
employees and stop-work Federal contractors across this country, from 
Los Angeles through Kansas City to Baltimore. It is a crisis that is 
hurting the lives of countless Americans whose food won't be inspected, 
whose water may not be clean, whose flight may not be safe, and whose 
bills may not be paid. It is a crisis of the President's own making.
  Right now, we are on the verge of the longest government shutdown in 
our Nation's history, a shameful display of what happens when the 
President governs solely to appeal to his political base, rather than 
on behalf of all Americans.
  Why are we here, Mr. Speaker? Because the President has committed 
himself to a wall that many experts say is ineffective. It is 
ineffective; it is expensive; and it is downright absurd. It has become 
a vanity project that began as an applause line in a campaign speech in 
which then-candidate Trump deemed the entire migration of people from 
the south rapists and criminals.
  It is clear, the wall is the only policy objective that matters to 
the President, and he is willing to say or do anything to get it. He 
will push hundreds of thousands of American families into suffering for 
his wall, and he has gone so far as to threaten us with a declaration 
of national emergency if he doesn't get his way, a declaration of 
national emergency not because we are in the middle of one, but, 
rather, as the President put it, because he can't make a deal.
  What is this national emergency on the border that the President is 
so concerned and afraid of? The past 2 years have seen border crossings 
drop to a historic low. Most undocumented immigrants in this country 
are visa overstays.
  Mr. Speaker, 0.1 percent of all Border Patrol arrests in 2018 were 
members of MS-13. Yes, that is a problem that we are sadly and 
tragically familiar with in Maryland, but that doesn't make it a 
national emergency.
  Most drugs smuggled through the southern border come through official 
ports of entry, not between them. And despite the President's false 
claims, there aren't thousands of terrorists coming across the border.
  Customs and Border Protection, an agency in which the President has 
considerable confidence, said they encountered six people with names 
that are like those on the terrorist watch list. Last year, more 
suspected foreign terrorists were apprehended at the northern border 
than at our southern border.
  Sure, we need strong border security, and not just at our southern 
border. But the President knows this isn't a national emergency but, 
perhaps, an alarm to his own political future.
  What will hurt our security and create a real crisis is if he takes 
money away from the Armed Forces to fund the wall. If the President 
used funding from the military construction budget, facilities used by 
our men and women in uniform--like shipyards and aircraft hangars, 
ammunition supply points and training ranges, and childcare centers and 
family housing--those would continue to slide into disrepair. This 
would impact military readiness and the quality of life for our 
military families.
  Or the President could decide to use money from infrastructure 
projects from the Army Corps of Engineers, projects meant to protect 
cities like Houston or Ellicott City in Maryland from flooding and 
would threaten tens of thousands of Americans who may find themselves 
in a real emergency during the next hurricane season.
  The use of these authorities, like the deployment of our troops to 
the border, is irresponsible, unnecessary, and misguided.
  Mr. Speaker, we don't have a crisis on the border. We have a crisis 
in the Oval Office. To President Trump, the wall, his symbol of 
division, matters more than substantial improvements to border security 
and true comprehensive immigration reform.
  If President Trump wants to address the real crisis in our country, 
let's end this shutdown and pay the people who work for the people. 
Let's reduce our silent backlog, protect Dreamers, and fix our 
dysfunctional immigration system. We need real action and a bipartisan 
solution.

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