BORDER SECURITY; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 5
(House of Representatives - January 10, 2019)

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                            BORDER SECURITY

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2019, the gentlewoman from Missouri (Mrs. Hartzler) is 
recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. Mr. Speaker, tonight, we are here to have a 
conversation about the situation at our southern border.
  The President calls it a border crisis and a humanitarian crisis, yet 
others call it immoral to give more funding to secure our Nation at the 
southern border. So what really is the situation?
  We are in the 20th day of a government shutdown over the question of: 
Is the security of the American people at risk because of what is 
happening at

[[Page H443]]

our southern border? And, if it is, what should we do about it?
  Tonight, my colleagues and I want to share the facts regarding the 
situation, and some stories from our districts, that illustrate why we 
support building a wall, as well as securing our border in other ways.
  For me, it is a matter of three things:
  The need to stop the flow of illegal drugs;
  The safety of innocent families in our districts, as well as the 
safety of innocent individuals who want to come here and immigrate to 
our country; and
  Third, I believe it is a matter of fairness.
  Let me share what I mean.
  I believe, and I think most people agree, that we have a drug crisis 
in our country. I see it every week when I am back in my district, when 
I talk to my law enforcement, when I talk to my families who have lost 
a child through a heroin overdose, when I see the rising foster care 
numbers in our State because their parents are drug addicted. We have a 
  I recently had a chance to travel to the Nogales-Mariposa port of 
entry that is south of Tucson, in Arizona, and boy was it eye-opening. 
There I learned from our Border Patrol agents that the drug cartels are 
waging a war, basically, against our country, and, sadly, in many ways, 
they are winning. They have more money, they have more manpower, and 
they are using drug mules to carry drugs across the unsecured part of 
our border. They are involving the gangs that come down, and then those 
travel up into our districts. I am from Missouri, and we see it there 
in Missouri.
  Last year, sadly, more than 72,000 Americans died from a drug 
overdose. That is more than died in the entire Vietnam war, the entire 
war, and this happens every year. That is also more deaths than people 
who passed away in our country from traffic accidents and homicides 
combined. Think about it.

  When we hear the nightly news and there is a homicide, that somebody 
has been shot and killed, it is tragic. Or we hear a report about 
somebody dying in a car accident, it is terrible. But all of the people 
in America who died from the traffic accidents and every person who 
died in a homicide, if you put those numbers together, that does not 
come close to the number of people who have died from drug overdoses. 
We have got to do better.
  I have got some pictures of some individuals who are victims of this 
drug crisis that is a result of our open borders. But they are not just 
statistics. The reason I put up their pictures here on this poster is 
because they are not a number. They have names. They lived. People 
loved them. They were sons, daughters, coworkers, and they were 
  The lady on the far side with her little boy, her name is Victoria 
and her son is Andrew. Now she didn't pass away, but she has been 
addicted to meth, so that when she gave birth to Andrew, he was 
addicted and had to go through withdrawal symptoms, and she struggled 
with a drug addiction.

                              {time}  1700

  The young man in the middle is named Eamon, and he, sadly, passed 
away from a heroin overdose.
  The mother here and her daughter, she is still alive, but she is 
struggling with drug addiction, through heroin, and she has lost 
custody of her little girl.
  Like I said, we have a record number of foster kids right now in 
America because of parents losing their children to drug addiction.
  A large number of the people have drug addictions due to opioids. In 
fact, according to the CDC, of more than 72,000 drug overdoses, many of 
them were due to fentanyl, which is also coming across our southern 
border. In fact, fentanyl killed 30,000 Americans last year.
  The Border Patrol is doing a great job with the resources they have, 
but they need more help. They found and interdicted 1.2 tons of 
fentanyl--1.2 tons. That is enough to kill every American. It takes 
only 2 milligrams of fentanyl to kill an individual. If you add up how 
much damage 1.2 tons of fentanyl could do, it adds up to over 500 
million people who could be killed. It is unbelievable.
  Then cocaine, they seized enough cocaine at the southern border last 
year to fill 141 1-ton pickup trucks. I made a poster just to show this 
because a lot of us are familiar with pickup trucks. We have 1-ton 
trucks, \3/4\-ton trucks. 141 of them, picture them filled with 
cocaine. That is how much was caught by our Border Patrol at the 
southern border. We have no idea how much more is not caught.
  Next one I want to talk about is methamphetamine. They seized 124 
tons of methamphetamine. Here is a face, and maybe you have seen these 
posters or pictures before. This is what meth does to individuals in a 
very short amount of time. It is awful. It is so addictive.
  At one time, Missouri was called the meth capital of our country. It 
tied with California for several years. It is a terrible distinction to 
have, but there were meth labs everywhere. Our law enforcement was 
doing as good a job as they could, interdicting and shutting down these 
meth labs.
  Now when I talk to my law enforcement at home, they say that we have 
hardly any meth labs, but the reason is sad. The reason is because the 
meth is still there, but it is coming from across our border. It is 
part of this tonnage coming up. That is why we have to build a wall and 
secure the border.
  I could talk about heroin. They seized 6,500 pounds of heroin. That 
is over 3 tons. In Missouri, in my State, we lost 380 people to heroin 
overdose last year.
  This is the fact: 90 percent of the heroin in our country comes from 
across the southern border. The drug cartels aren't backing off. They 
don't care. They see this as a revenue opportunity. They don't care 
about people.
  Just in 2 years, there has been a 73 percent increase in fentanyl 
that they have shoved across our border, a 38 percent increase in 
methamphetamine, a 22 percent increase in heroin. That just is what is 
  Our Border Patrol needs some help. We have to stop this drug crisis.
  But there is more. Besides drug deaths, there have been numerous 
deaths linked to illegal immigrants that come here.
  Now, all of us support people coming here legally. Almost every one 
of us in the body have some story about a relative who came here, maybe 
they went through Ellis Island. I support legal immigration. But when 
we have an open border, anybody can come across.
  Last year, they caught 17,000 people coming across the border who had 
criminal records. The ones who didn't get caught end up in our 
communities and, sadly, kill people like Officer Singh.
  Our hearts were broken the day after Christmas when we heard this 
story of this legal immigrant who did it right. He came from Fiji. He 
immigrated here, and his goal was to become a police officer. He wanted 
that so much, first to be a citizen, but then he traveled 4 hours every 
day to attend his police academy.
  He learned English. He took English classes to learn the language, so 
that he could be a good police officer. And he was a good one. He was 
an honorable one.
  An illegal immigrant who came across our southern border shot and 
killed him. This is why we have to secure our border, and we can do it.
  I am also concerned about the innocent people who are being told a 
lie by the drug cartels. They are giving their life savings to a coyote 
to come here. They are brought to the border and then travel across the 
  Doctors Without Borders tells an upsetting statistic to me, and to 
anybody who is listening, that one-third of all the women who try to 
make that trip are sexually assaulted.
  This current system is incentivizing them, with an open border, to 
try to make that trek, and they are being harmed. Instead, we have to 
close that border and give them the tools that will help them come here 
legally, come here safely. That is what we all want.
  Lastly, I want to talk about the issue of fairness. Right now, there 
are 700,000 people who are in the process of becoming legal citizens of 
our country, trying to come here and be an immigrant, following our 
  In my district, I am working with some families who are trying to get 
relatives here through the legal system, and it is amazing what you go 
through. First of all, it takes years. It

[[Page H444]]

takes years, but they fill out the paperwork. I have seen the pictures 
of the stacks of paperwork that they have to file with our immigration 
system to get them here.
  There are 700,000 people right now trying to do that. It is just not 
fair to allow people to jump the line and to just walk across.
  Because of the way our laws are now, if you bring a child into our 
country, they can hold them only 20 days, and then you have to let them 
go. So they know that.
  I learned that the drug cartels at the border actually have 
attorneys. They are a big business. They are something else.

  They know the laws. They know they are going to be let out, and they 
are here. That is just not right. We can do better. We can secure the 
  $5.7 billion in the scheme of things is not that much. We give $50 
billion every year for foreign aid, so it is about a tenth of the 
foreign aid we give to other countries to secure their borders.
  Why don't we secure our country? We can do that.
  I wanted to share some of those facts and invite some of my 
colleagues to come here tonight to share their thoughts on this very 
important issue that is before us as a nation and to hear their 
  The first person I want to yield to is the gentleman from Montana,  
Greg Gianforte.
  Mr. GIANFORTE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from Missouri for 
focusing the attention of this Chamber on this crisis at our border and 
the need for reform.
  America's borders have been too open for too long. As a result, we 
face a humanitarian and national security crisis that is getting worse. 
Congress has a responsibility to the American people to address it.
  Providing for our Nation's security is the chief function of the 
Federal Government. It is past time for leaders on the other side of 
the aisle to get serious, do their jobs, stop playing political games, 
and secure our border.
  What is happening at the border and to those seeking to enter our 
country illegally is a tragedy. More than 30 percent of migrant women 
making the trip to our southern border have been sexually assaulted 
during their journey. More than two-thirds of all migrants making the 
trek have reported violence.
  Our broken immigration system encourages parents to send their kids 
on a dangerous journey by themselves.
  The humanitarian tragedy is one element. Our open borders are also a 
threat to national security and community safety. Drug cartels, gangs, 
and human traffickers are exploiting our weak borders and bringing 
crime into our communities.
  Last year, Border Patrol agents arrested 17,000 individuals with 
criminal records. About 800 gang members were caught trying to cross 
the border.
  The crisis extends to Montana where our epidemic of meth use tears 
apart families and threatens our communities.
  However, we no longer have Montana meth because of the good work of 
our law enforcement. Now we have Mexican meth. Law enforcement in 
Fergus County, Montana, tells me that they know when a shipment from 
Mexico arrives because they see an increase in crime. Domestic 
violence, burglaries, and violence are the result of Mexican meth 
coming into Montana communities.
  Law enforcement in the State also told me that, in addition to an 
uptick in crime, addiction has left more families broken apart and more 
kids in foster care.
  Law enforcement tells me that over 90 percent of all the crime we 
have in Montana is addiction-related.
  The humanitarian crisis is not limited to our border. We can see it 
in our communities: crime, violence, and broken families. We must 
secure our border.
  One element of improving border security is a wall or a physical 
barrier. Walls work. The results bear it out. Walls at the border in 
San Diego, El Paso, Tucson, and Yuma have seen dramatic declines in the 
number of illegal immigrants crossing the border.
  Facing an increasing humanitarian and national security crisis, it is 
past time that leaders across the aisle focus on securing the border. 
End the games. Get the job done and secure the border.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentlewoman for the time and for her 
leadership on this issue.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman. I appreciate his 
comments. They were spot on.
  We are seeing the same thing in Missouri with that meth coming up 
from Mexico and the record number of people in foster care. It just 
breaks your heart, and it doesn't have to be that way.
  Mr. GIANFORTE. We must act.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. Yes, we must act.
  Mr. Speaker, I would now like to invite my friend from Louisiana,  
Mike Johnson, to share what he is seeing down there in Louisiana, what 
his constituents are saying, and what his thoughts are.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Johnson).
  Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from 
  Mr. Speaker, the gentlewoman has given us this opportunity tonight to 
speak on the growing crisis at our southern border. It is a critical 
issue that our friends on the other side of the aisle are simply 
failing to address.
  Over the course of this government shutdown, many have sought to 
dismiss the very real challenges that we are facing regarding human 
trafficking, sexual assault, and drug smuggling that clearly are 
occurring. Thousands of people are making the dangerous journey to and 
across our southern border, and this has been the result.

  What these same opponents fail to mention is the perverse incentives 
that exist for these crimes.
  For example, our lax immigration laws have encouraged illegal 
  For example, the dramatic increase in unaccompanied minors and 
supposed family units at the border are a direct result of our catch-
and-release policies.
  The President made his case to the American people just a few nights 
ago, and he addressed the urgent need for border security. He is 
precisely right.
  Securing our borders and protecting the American people must be a top 
priority of this Congress. It is our duty. It is important to maintain 
the strength and the sovereignty of our Nation.
  A strong America is good not only for our national security and our 
prosperity, but it is good for all people around the world. As the last 
great superpower, we have to maintain our sovereignty and our strength, 
and it is important to do exactly that.
  Here are just a few of the most devastating facts, and we will hear 
many of them tonight.
  Last year, Customs and Border Protection agents apprehended 17,000 
adults with existing criminal records.
  In the past 2 years alone, ICE agents have arrested over 230,000 
illegal aliens with a prior criminal history committed within our 
borders. That is assault, homicide, and sexual assault--violent crimes. 
Our border agents have arrested thousands of gang members and 
traffickers, and they have rescued countless children from 
  By any objective measure, this is a humanitarian and a national 
security crisis. Anyone who says otherwise is either ignoring the facts 
or being dishonest.
  Right now, so many of our friends on the other side are refusing to 
do what they have supported in the past, simply because it is now in 
line with President Trump's agenda.

                              {time}  1715

  When President Obama was in office, for example, all 54 Senate 
Democrats voted for $46 billion in border security and hundreds of 
miles in border fencing.
  What has changed, Mr. Speaker?
  That is an important question. Do our friends across the aisle need 
to hear from the families who have lost loved ones at the hands of an 
illegal alien? Do they deny that children being smuggled across the 
border deserve reprieve?
  Sadly, the legislation that has come before the House this week fails 
to address the extraordinary crisis we face. This isn't an honest 
attempt to end the shutdown. These aren't good faith negotiations. This 
is a political stunt. These bills will not be considered by the Senate; 
they will not be signed by the President; and everybody knows

[[Page H445]]

that. Rather than working on solutions, the Democrats here have chosen 
to waste the people's time with these symbolic votes.
  Not securing our border is an immoral act. What we have done here and 
what we are doing here is immoral by failing to address this issue. I 
commend the President and all of my Republican colleagues for taking 
this stand.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. Thank you so much. I appreciate your perspective down 
there from Louisiana.
  You bring up the great point of the number of children coming across. 
I heard yesterday how Health and Human Services, which gets custody of 
these children, just does not have the capacity to house them and to 
take care of them. It is a crisis. That is why the President says it is 
a humanitarian crisis. So we have got to act.
  Mr. Speaker, we started off in Missouri; we had Montana; we have gone 
down to Louisiana to hear their perspective; and now we go to North 
Carolina to hear from Representative Ted Budd.
  I appreciate your being here, Representative Budd, and we would love 
to hear what your thoughts are on this very important topic.
  I yield to the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Budd).
  Mr. BUDD. Thank you, as a friend and Congresswoman from Missouri, for 
yielding and holding such an important and timely Special Order.
  Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, President Trump went to the American people 
and rightfully made the case for the border security proposal he has 
submitted to Congress, and it is a proposal that I fully support.
  This plan, which was developed by border security and law enforcement 
professionals, takes necessary steps to secure our border, protect our 
communities, and it ends the plague of crimes that were committed by 
illegal aliens against American citizens.
  The truth is America is at a decision point. It is time to decide 
what kind of country, exactly, we want to be: a country founded on the 
rule of law or on lawlessness.
  We have seen States across the country declare themselves a sanctuary 
for illegal immigrants, willing to put the lives of U.S. citizens at 
risk for political purposes. We have lawmakers here in this Chamber who 
are intent on eliminating our Immigration and Customs Enforcement 
agency, ICE, which is tasked with enforcing our immigration laws.
  We know that the vast majority of immigrants are great people, and it 
would be foolish to even think otherwise. In fact, legal immigration--
that is legal, with an L--historically has been beneficial 
economically, socially, and culturally to the United States, and I have 
no doubt that we are going to continue to invite and welcome legal 
immigrants with open arms to our country every day. We do that for 
about 1 million a year. We are a very welcoming and generous country. 
But to ignore the crisis at our southern border is also dangerous.
  Throughout 2018, Customs and Border Patrol seized 1.7 million pounds 
of narcotics. We have seen a 38 percent increase in methamphetamines 
and a 73 percent increase in fentanyl coming across our borders. These 
drugs are taking the lives of tens of thousands of our people every 
year--I think we heard the number 72,000 last year, including many of 
those from my home State of North Carolina. For those who are living 
with addiction, these drugs steal their dignity, and they steal their 
  The trafficking of women and children across our southern border is 
equally as egregious. In his address to the Nation the other night, the 
President called this a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul.
  The Department of Homeland Security has also been very clear 
regarding the national security implications that come with having a 
border that can be easily accessed by those who want to cause us harm.
  To conclude, I will say that, right now, the government is in a 
shutdown because President Trump requested funding for a border wall 
that Democrats once supported when there was a different President.
  To be frank, the current shutdown isn't due to policy difference; it 
is due to politics. So let's put politics aside, and let's do what is 
right for our constituents and for our country.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. Well said, Representative.
  Mr. Speaker, now we have my colleague and friend to the south in 
Arkansas. Representative French Hill wants to share a little bit. I 
appreciate his being here tonight.
  I yield to the gentleman from Arkansas (Mr. Hill).
  Mr. HILL of Arkansas. I thank my friend from Missouri (Mrs. Hartzler) 
for her leadership on this issue. Thanks for letting us gather together 
on the people's House floor tonight and talk about this issue and try 
to lay out for the American people who are watching some of the facts 
associated with this situation. I am not sure they always get the full 
  When I came to Congress, I knew the only way to really understand 
this border security issue was to go to the border. Since I was elected 
in 2014, I have been down on the southwest border four times and am 
getting ready to go back in just a few days.
  On those trips, I meet with Border Patrol agents, local law 
enforcement, county judges, citizens, and community leaders. We all 
talk about the issue of what is the definition of border security: the 
physical barrier aspect? the technology? the observation? the manpower? 
the coordination with local law enforcement?

  We always talk about drugs and drug cartels. You have heard from our 
leader tonight that they outman and outgun American law enforcement, 
Federal and State.
  Just last week, I got a note from my good friend that we lost another 
young person from my high school due to heroin and fentanyl overdose.
  I carry a little packet of Sweet'N Low in my pocket, Mr. Speaker, 
because a gram of fentanyl, which is the size of a Sweet'N Low packet, 
has enough fentanyl in it to kill 500 Americans. So it is killing our 
kids, Mr. Speaker, and it is coming across the border with Mexico.
  Physical barriers shape the strategic deployment of our force. That 
is why county judges support it, mayors support it, and our Border 
Patrol supports it. This is why, over the past 20 years, when President 
Bush proposed it, President Clinton proposed it, Bush 43 proposed it, 
and Obama supported it, we built fence, starting in San Diego. We see, 
where there is fencing, 90 percent reductions in people crossing 
  Fences work. Physical barriers work. Physical barriers shape our 
force deployment and allow us to better use our manpower and coordinate 
our very understaffed and undergunned forces.
  Secondly, it is increasingly frustrating to me that this is a crisis 
of politics in this House Chamber and in the United States Senate. It 
is utterly hypocritical on the part of our leaders in the House and our 
minority in the Senate to not see this need for humanitarian assistance 
on the border and physical security on the border. Republicans have 
proposed this time and time again last year. We got no Democratic votes 
for it last year.
  I want my friends on the other side of the aisle to be able to make 
the moral distinction between those who come to our country legally and 
those who come here illegally. It seems to me that is a straightforward 
promise. America is a nation of immigrants. We are the most generous 
and welcoming country in the world.
  One other point I want to make before I close, my friend from 
Missouri, is to talk about people seeking asylum here, people coming to 
our border with no papers, no documentation.
  There was a news story this week about the Bangladeshi pair of men 
trying to come in and cross the border, interviewed on national 
television. We see, time and time again, people come from Bangladesh 
and from all over the world. They come to Mexico; they come to our 
border; and they have no passport.
  How do they come into the United States? They have no documents. They 
claim asylum, credible fear, and yet here, Mr. Speaker, is a driver's 
license handed to me by a Border Patrol agent in Chula Vista, 
California, of a Saudi Arabian born in the early 1990s, and yet we have 
no record of someone from Saudi Arabia crossing at Chula Vista in the 
time frame that this driver's license was found in the Chula Vista 
station outside San Diego.

[[Page H446]]

  We have a crisis on this border, and when people tell you there isn't 
one, they are not telling you the truth. That should terrify us that we 
don't know who is coming across our border, Mr. Speaker.
  Therefore, I thank the gentlewoman from Missouri for holding this 
hour. I am grateful for the opportunity to speak to the American people 
about the drugs and the impact on our youth and the impact on our 
national security by not having a secure southern border.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. Thank you, gentleman, that was excellent; and I 
appreciate you bringing a picture so we can all see that what the 
Border Patrol and others are running into is that individuals, clearly, 
are here from other countries illegally, and that is why we need to 
secure this border. It is very concerning what is happening as a result 
of having an open border.
  Mr. Speaker, I am glad that my colleague from Florida has shared a 
little bit of his time this evening to come join us.
   John Rutherford, I appreciate your being here, and I look forward to 
hearing what you have to share tonight.
  I yield to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Rutherford).
  Mr. RUTHERFORD. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are calling 
the situation at the southern border a manufactured crisis. What a 
heartless and naive thing to say.
  Tell that to the families of almost 300 people who die every week 
from the heroin flooding across our southern border.
  Tell that to the ICE agents who seized enough synthetic opioids in 
2017 to kill every single American by overdose.
  Or come on down with me to the 2100 block of Jefferson Street in 
Jacksonville, Florida, and you tell that to the medical examiner who 
saw, in 2017, the highest rate of fentanyl-related deaths in the entire 
State of Florida.
  A manufactured crisis? Hardly, Mr. Speaker.
  Thankfully, the experts at DHS who are on the ground doing the good 
work to protect us understand what is necessary to combat this crisis, 
and they have asked Congress for our help. These DHS professionals have 
told us that security at the border requires a multilayered approach 
that includes additional personnel, increased technology, access roads, 
and, yes, a wall.
  The wall is not and never has been the beginning and end to border 
security, but it is an important part of a comprehensive security plan. 
Let's give the DHS the money for the wall, get out of the way, and let 
the folks on the ground do their job.
  Mr. Speaker, I have spent 41 years of my life as a law enforcement 
officer, including 12 years as sheriff. One thing I know firsthand is 
the judgment of the patrolman should amplify larger than the back-
office bureaucrat. Listen to those in operations. Those who would argue 
against the pleas of the DHS either haven't seen what is really going 
on or are intentionally ignoring the crisis.

  For my friends on the other side of the aisle who are calling this a 
manufactured crisis, they know this isn't about the $5 billion for the 
wall. In fact, most of them at one time or another have already voted 
to fund a wall. To them, it is really about not wanting to support our 
President. It is about being part of a resistance movement.
  If you want to talk about a manufactured crisis, I can point you in 
the right direction, because it is manufactured in Central America, it 
is manufactured in South America, and it is being manufactured by drug 
cartels to be trafficked north and smuggled across the southern border 
and into our communities. I have seen firsthand the lives destroyed and 
the communities torn apart by this scourge coming through our porous 
southern border.
  This bickering over one-tenth of 1 percent of our annual budget has 
become a hyperbolic political football, putting lives at risk. I say, 
enough, Mr. Speaker. Our Federal law enforcement officers on the ground 
at the border have asked for our help, and we have a solemn obligation 
to give them what they need to keep Americans safe.
  A manufactured crisis? Hardly, Mr. Speaker.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. You sure know what you are talking about because of 
the lifelong service that you have given to law enforcement.
  I loved what you shared. It is time to listen to those people on the 
ground and in operations. That is who we need to listen to.
  You are right. When I had a chance to go to the border, the Border 
Patrol are saying we need this. They are there every day risking their 
lives trying to keep us safe.
  So thank you for sharing your firsthand perspective from law 
enforcement and what you are hearing. I appreciate it.
  Now, Mr. Speaker, I would like to turn to another colleague of mine, 
whom I actually had to travel to the border with back in October. She 
is from Arizona, which is where the port was in Mariposa, Nogales, that 
we went to.
  Debbie Lesko, thank you for joining us tonight. I really appreciate 
your sharing with America and with our colleagues here about what you 
are seeing from Arizona and your perspective on the need to build this 
security wall at the border.
  I yield to the gentlewoman from Arizona (Mrs. Lesko).
  Mrs. LESKO. Thank you very much, Representative Hartzler; it was 
really eye-opening when we went down to the Arizona border. I have been 
there a number of times, but I learned directly from not only the high-
ranking officials, but from rank-and-file agents.
  When I asked if a border fence was necessary to protect our Nation, 
they said, absolutely, yes. That is part of the solution. We have a 
major problem.
  Today, I would like to focus on some people from Arizona, 
Representative Hartzler, who were killed. They were killed by illegal 
immigrants who came into our country illegally. So I rise today because 
our open borders have caused a humanitarian and security crisis.
  When the Democrats say that this is a manufactured crisis, that is 
absolutely false. I have seen firsthand and have talked to people 
firsthand. We have a crisis on our southern border.

                              {time}  1730

  Arizonans know the challenges of an unsecured border all too well. 
Just ask Mary Ann Mendoza whose son, Brandon, a Mesa, Arizona, police 
officer, was killed in a head-on collision caused by an illegal 
  The illegal immigrant who killed Brandon was arrested in the nineties 
for burglary and assaulting a police officer. He never showed up for 
court and was reapprehended at the border in 2002 attempting to come 
back into our country. Unfortunately, a lenient judge let him stay. 
Because of that, this law enforcement officer was killed.
  Arizona Border Agent Brian Terry's life was taken by a group of 
traffickers hoping to smuggle drugs into our country. When Agent Terry 
and three other border agents tried to stop their illegal activity, 
they shot him. Perhaps had our border not been so porous, Agent Brian 
Terry would still be with us today.
  A rancher from Cochise County, Arizona, Robert Krentz, was killed by 
an illegal immigrant at home on his ranch.
  Unfortunately, there are way too many stories just like these of 
innocent people getting killed by illegal immigrants.
  I live in a border State. I have been to the border a number of 
times. Most recently, I visited the United States-Mexico border in 
Nogales with the gentlewoman, where I met with Customs and Border 
Protection agents. I asked the agents if they thought the border fence 
would help. As I said before, they said absolutely, yes, that a fence 
will help in our efforts to combat illegal immigration and other 
illegal activity across the border.
  The crisis we are dealing with at the border is not just illegal 
immigration. There are illicit and illegal drugs flowing through our 
borders; human trafficking; and, as we learned from the agents, 
dangerous cartels at the border that are exploiting vulnerable children 
and mothers. In fact, according to Doctors Without Borders, more than 
30 percent of the women who come to the southern border have been 
sexually assaulted on their journey.
  This is something that is up to Congress to fix. We need border 
security. The fence is just part of the solution.

[[Page H447]]

We need technology like sensors and drones, so we have eyes where we 
can't have our agents. We need more boots on the ground. We have funded 
more agents on the ground. Let's hire more agents, so our resources 
aren't spread too thin.
  What we are asking for is a multifaceted approach to border security. 
Democrats know this. In 2006, Democrats supported a border fence. Chuck 
Schumer and then-Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton voted to 
fund $52 billion for 700 miles of fencing. Now we are asking for $5.7 
billion. To me and you, that is a lot of money, but it really 
represents only one-tenth of 1 percent of our spending.
  On December 20, the Republicans in the House voted to keep the 
government open and secure the border. Unfortunately, not one Democrat 
voted for the bill. Now we are in a situation where the government is 
shut down. They won't come to the table. They won't negotiate. They 
don't have a counteroffer.
  I am willing to sit down and listen to their suggestions, but they 
haven't brought forward any suggestions. They are refusing to negotiate 
and refusing to deal with this national security crisis.
  While Democrats refuse to come to the negotiating table, our brave 
Border Patrol and ICE agents continue their mission of protecting our 
borders, even without a paycheck. We should be supporting them by 
giving them the tools and resources they need to do their jobs and keep 
our Nation safe.
  Instead, unfortunately, my Democrat colleagues are ignoring the 
public calls for border security. In fact, when Democrats repeatedly 
say, ``We are for border security,'' I think their talk is talk. They 
need to walk the walk and listen to our law enforcement that tells them 
what we need. Part of that is a border fence.
  President Trump addressed the Nation this week. Now it is up to 
Congress to address and solve the issue with legislation. Let's stop 
these political ploys and fund comprehensive border security.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for her excellent 
summation of what is important. It was so touching. I thank her for 
bringing the pictures of Arizonans who have lost their lives due to 
Congress' failure to build the wall and keep us safe.
  That is why we are here tonight, saying now is the time. We have to 
stop this.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Minnesota, Pete Stauber. 
He is new to Congress. I am so glad to have him here. I appreciate him 
coming, and I look forward to hearing what he has to say from a 
Minnesotan's point of view.
  Mr. STAUBER. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from the State of 
Missouri for her leadership. It is a privilege to stand here on this 
important issue.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise to discuss the pressing issue of border security. 
Across our southern border, we have thousands of miles of unprotected 
terrain where weapons, human trafficking victims, and drugs are easily 
smuggled into this country every single day.
  Believe it or not, the drugs that are crossing our southern border 
even make their way to the most northern communities in my great State 
of Minnesota. Just last year, more than two dozen people were arrested 
for their involvement in a large heroin trafficking network that 
brought drugs to St. Louis County, where my family, friends, and 
constituents live. This is unacceptable.
  During my 23 years as a law enforcement officer, I worked tirelessly 
to keep illegal drugs off the streets and out of the hands of our young 
children. I have given too many death notifications to unsuspecting 
parents. The pain and anguish of each family will never be forgotten.
  Mr. Speaker, it is high time we recognize that our porous borders are 
intrinsically tied to the drug crisis, the rise in human trafficking, 
and illegal immigration in this country. I urge the Democratic 
leadership to put partisan politics aside so we can finally work 
together and secure our borders. The health and safety of the American 
people are depending on it, and doing nothing is no longer an option.

  Mrs. HARTZLER. Mr. Speaker, the gentleman has that law enforcement 
background that is so critical right here in Congress. That is why we 
are glad he is here and appreciate him sharing. I can't imagine what he 
has gone through so many times, having to go to somebody's home--the 
parents--and face a mom and dad to tell them that their child has died.
  That is why we are here today. I appreciate the gentleman's passion 
for this issue. I share it.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Illinois,  Mike Bost, a 
colleague to the east. I thank him for being here tonight and 
appreciate him sharing about this important crisis that we have at our 
  Mr. BOST. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from Missouri for 
yielding and for putting this on tonight.
  Mr. Speaker, if you have listened to this debate tonight, the 
colleagues that I serve with are explaining that there truly is a 
crisis. Unfortunately, there are those who claim that it is a 
manufactured crisis. Despite what the colleagues from the other side of 
the aisle say, it is not a manufactured crisis. It is not a new crisis, 
but it is an ever-growing crisis.
  Let me tell you that I have had experience and understand the border 
from many years ago. While stationed in the United States Marine Corps 
in Yuma, Arizona, I actually worked at a site called P111 that was 3 
miles off the Mexican border in Arizona. Every night, people would come 
across. Thinking they were seeing a border fence, they would climb into 
the compound. Every night, we would have to call border security, and 
they would pick them up and take them back.
  We talked about the crisis of drugs coming across. Let me tell you 
about the crisis that occurred at that time. Some very evil people 
would watch the desert, and they would kill these people trying to come 
across the border, who would then just be left because there was no ID 
for them.
  But we can secure our border. It is an argument that has been going 
on in this House and in this Nation for some time.
  Many of you who are older will remember that Ronald Reagan actually 
argued and put forth the idea with Tip O'Neill, the idea that they 
would do immigration reform, which Tip wanted, as long as they could 
secure the border, which the President wanted. Tip O'Neill got what he 
wanted. The President didn't get what he wanted, because the House 
didn't pass the funding.
  Mr. Speaker, it is time we passed the funding. We have to end this 
shutdown, and we have to secure our border. But it takes a good-faith 
effort on both sides to negotiate. When Speaker Pelosi says she offered 
$1 toward the physical barrier, she is not negotiating in good faith.
  It is very sad, because I am concerned about those people who work 
for us in this government who are not receiving a paycheck. Everybody 
who is speaking on this floor tonight is. But they are also concerned 
about the pictures that we see here and the problems that we see.
  In this House last year, we worked on legislation dealing with the 
opioid crisis, but our largest supplier of opioids is at that southern 
border. Over 90 percent of the opioids and heroin that comes in and 
that kills the people of the United States is coming across because we 
don't have the ability to secure that border with a physical barrier.
  There is one difference right now between when Nancy Pelosi and Chuck 
Schumer supported a barrier along that border. The only difference is 
who is sitting in the White House. You can like him; you can hate him; 
but the reality is this issue is not about him. It is about the 
citizens of this United States. It is about what is doing right by the 
citizens that send us here. To watch political football being played in 
this House and watch what occurs is simply mind-boggling.
  I had a town hall meeting the other night, and we let both those for 
and those against speak and ask questions. By the time it was said and 
done, over 66 percent of the people I was talking to believed that we 
must secure this border with a physical barrier.
  Plain and simple, let's stop playing politics, and let's fund the 
government and our border. We can do both. The people of America need 
to know and understand that, because I know my

[[Page H448]]

colleagues who are speaking here tonight do understand it.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. Mr. Speaker, the gentleman is right. We can do both. 
We are all committed to doing that. That is why we are here. We are 
working for the American public, and I believe we will get this done.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to my colleague and good friend from Alabama, 
Martha Roby.
  Mrs. ROBY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman and my friend as well 
for holding this Special Order tonight. I agree with the comments my 
colleagues have made here on the floor this evening.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening to underscore the severity of the 
situation at our southern border. We are in the midst of a real crisis, 
and we must act now.
  According to Homeland Security, in the last 2 months, our Border 
Patrol has apprehended roughly 140,000 illegal immigrants at the 
southern border. This is an increase of 86 percent over the same period 
last year. Additionally, there were more than 25,000 families 
apprehended last November. This is the highest monthly number ever 
recorded by Border Patrol.
  Mr. Speaker, here in Congress, my colleagues on both sides of the 
aisle are talking about this issue as though it is something new. This 
is not a new issue. For the past decade, the people who I represent in 
southeast Alabama have consistently expressed to me their frustrations 
with our country's illegal immigration problem.
  I believe now is the time that we must use every tool available to 
enhance border security. And we must do it now. We cannot wait another 
  I really appreciate the gentlewoman taking this time, her leadership 
on this issue tonight, and her giving me the opportunity to speak.

                              {time}  1745

  Mrs. HARTZLER. Thank you for coming and sharing. You made so many 
great points. And just the sheer number of people who are coming 
across, we just say those numbers, but I heard the other day, it is 
like 2,000 a day.
  In my district--I have a very rural district--there are a lot of 
towns that don't have 2,000 people in them. So if I picture one of my 
towns that has 2,000 people in it, that is how many that are coming 
across every day, the southern border, 2,000 people a day.
  We have just got to address this. I agree with you, we have got to do 
it now. And thank you so much for coming.
  I would like to now yield to the gentleman from South Carolina, 
Representative Duncan, my good friend, to come here and share his 
thoughts from South Carolina and why he thinks this is a real crisis, 
and then why we need to deal with it right now.
  Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Speaker, first off, let me thank the gentlewoman for 
having this Special Order on a very, very important issue.
  South Carolina is as far away from the Texas border, the southern 
border, as almost any State. We do have an international border with 
the port of Charleston. We have airports there. But on Tuesday, the 
President carefully explained the reality on our southern border.
  Plain and simple, we have a real and tangible national security 
crisis on our hands with illegal immigration, drug smuggling, human 
smuggling, sex trafficking, and terrorist threats, terrorists 
attempting to infiltrate our country through our poorest and unsafe 
southern border. These are people who aren't from Central or South 
America. There have been people of all nationalities apprehended on our 
southern border.
  The President should be applauded for looking at every angle and 
every out-of-the-box idea to answer his constitutional duty to the 
American people to secure our Nation. This is about national security. 
It is not just about illegal immigrants wanting to come into our 
country to work and provide for their family; this is about national 
  We all know we have an epidemic drug problem in this country, and the 
majority of the drugs are coming across our southern border. Sex 
trafficking and human trafficking, in general, are immense in our 
southern border region.
  And we do know that the Quds Force, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard 
Special Elite Forces, the Quds Force, have tried to come across our 
southern border, apprehended and thwarted by an undercover DEA agent on 
the Mexican side of the border that stopped that. That Quds Force 
operative wanted to come to this city, wanted to come to Washington, 
D.C., to assassinate the Ambassador from Saudi Arabia at a restaurant 
where a Member of this body could have been eating.
  The threat of terrorism is real. The illegality and illegal 
activities happening on our southern border are real. It is what the 
people want. It is what they expect from the Commander-in-Chief, to 
make sure that our Nation is safe. They want a true leader, a problem-
solver. President Trump has proven that he is a problem-solver in 
private business, and he is applying that as Commander-in-Chief.
  Congressional Democrats have been unwilling to secure the border, 
even though a lot of them voted for the 2006 Secure Fence Act, but they 
failed to fund it. So the show vote, if you look at their rhetoric, 
they believed in securing the border. Now it is time to put the money 
there to truly do it.
  Seventy-nine Senators voted for that as well, the 2006 Secure Fence 
Act. And because of Democrats' unwillingness to fulfill their 
constitutional Article I duties, the government remains partially shut 
  This isn't politics. This is national security. It is time to build 
the wall, secure our border, stop the illegal activities, a national 
security issue to protect us and our fellow citizens. We owe it to the 
American citizens to step up and secure this Nation.
  I applaud the President and I applaud Mrs. Hartzler for having this 
Special Order and giving us Members a chance to voice our support for 
what is going on with the administration trying to secure this country.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. Well said. Well said. I thank the gentleman; that was 
  Now, I yield to the gentleman from Texas, Representative Brian Babin. 
He is right there at the border. So what does the gentleman have to 
  Mr. BABIN. I was at the border this past weekend.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. Really?
  Mr. BABIN. I certainly was.
  Mr. Speaker, as a Representative from the 36th District of Texas, I 
made a promise to my constituents and the American people to secure the 
southern border, and I intend to keep my promise.
  The last 2 months alone, Border Patrol agents have apprehended 
roughly 140,000 illegal aliens on the southwest border, which is a 
staggering 86 percent increase from this time last year alone. Without 
question, funding to build the wall is crucial, and now is our chance.
  In December of 2018, Border Patrol agents apprehended more than 
27,000 members of family units, the highest monthly total on record, a 
number which has been on a steady incline for months. I have seen this 
with my own eyes.
  Mr. Speaker, last month, I joined my Republican colleagues here in 
the House and voted to fully fund the government and secure money for 
the border wall. Regrettably, the Democrats blocked this commonsense 
legislation and are now unwilling to negotiate with us or the 
  The crisis at our southern border is a dire national security and 
humanitarian concern, and a solution must not be delayed any longer. 
The border encompasses approximately 2,000 miles; but with too many of 
those miles left open, we are hurting our border States, and, quite 
frankly, the entire Nation is put at risk. It is past time for the 
Democrats to come to the table with a serious offer so that we can move 
forward toward meaningful border security.

  Simply put, we have very little idea who is coming across the border, 
what their intentions are, and we have to get a handle on this. 
Criminal organizations, cartels, and others who wish to harm us are 
easily entering our country undetected.
  Indeed, 500 Texans have died at the hands of illegal criminals in 
Texas alone. And Houston, which I represent part of, is the number one 
port of entry for sex trafficking in the United States, a very dubious, 
indeed, record there.
  I am willing to fight for this, and I encourage my colleagues to do 
the same.

[[Page H449]]

  I thank my friend, the gentlewoman from Missouri (Mrs. Hartzler), for 
the time.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield to my colleague from North 
Carolina, Representative Rouzer, to share.
  And while he is coming, I just want to thank the gentleman from Texas 
for sharing that. That is just heartbreaking that 500,000 Texans were 
killed at the hands of illegal aliens. But we can fix that.
  So I thank Representative Rouzer for being here. What does the 
gentleman have to say tonight about this?
  Mr. ROUZER. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the gentlewoman from 
Missouri for leading this Special Order and her great leadership in so 
many respects and, particularly, in this regard.
  Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no question about it. Our Nation is 
in the midst of a humanitarian and national security crisis at our 
southern border, one that is growing by the day, and its impact is far-
  Unfortunately, many of these illegal aliens are very dangerous 
individuals with criminal records, members of gangs, and others coming 
for nefarious purposes who are exploiting the loopholes and current 
immigration laws. This has led to an increase in human trafficking and 
a lethal spike in drug trafficking that is striking rural and urban 
communities, alike, all across this great land.
  During the past 2 years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens 
with criminal records, including those charged or convicted of 100,000 
assaults and nearly 30,000 sex crimes.
  Data shows that 31 percent of women and nearly 17 percent of men are 
sexually assaulted en route to the border. The situation is so bad that 
nearly 70 percent of migrants are victims of some form of violence 
during their travel.
  Now, let's talk about the drugs.
  Heroin and fentanyl are hitting rural and urban America in epidemic 
proportions. Just this past year, there was a 73 percent increase of 
fentanyl and 22 percent increase in heroin brought across the southern 
border. In fact, approximately 90 percent of the heroin brought into 
this country is smuggled across.
  According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2017 alone, more than 
70,000 lives were lost due to drug overdoses. They published this just 
this past December 18, more than 70,000 lives.
  The drugs coming in across the border are destroying lives, 
separating families, and robbing this country of great talent that is 
so badly needed. Almost every business owner I talked to tells me what 
a hard time they have trying to find workers because, in so many cases, 
they can't pass a drug test.
  My home State of North Carolina also suffers greatly from the 
prevalence of human trafficking. In so many cases, this, too, starts at 
the southern border.
  Here is the bottom line: Criminal organizations and others are 
utilizing illegal immigration as a way to make billions in profit and 
cause harm to countless victims in the process. A barrier in the right 
places makes a lot of common sense. The President is asking for a 
little more than 230-some square miles of steel barrier out of almost 
2,000 miles of border. This shouldn't even be a debate. Give me a 
  Mr. Speaker, this is a crisis that requires bipartisan action. I 
applaud President Trump and his commitment to securing the border, and 
I am proud to stand with him until it is done.
  I urge our Democratic colleagues to come to the table. This is a 
negotiation. This is a process. Come to the table and let's work it 
out, and let's do what is right for the American people.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the conversation that we 
have had tonight, sharing with the American people the facts and the 
stories of some people in our district about why this is so important.

                             General Leave

  Mrs. HARTZLER. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous material on the topic of this Special Order.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Missouri?
  There was no objection.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.