THE CRISIS AT THE BORDER; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 8
(House of Representatives - January 15, 2019)

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                        THE CRISIS AT THE BORDER

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2019, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Perry) is 
recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
  Mr. PERRY. Madam Speaker, I rise to speak about the crisis at the 
border, what is happening now, and what we can expect if we don't 
resolve this issue.
  I can't help but comment on a few things that my good friend, the 
gentleman from California, said. And just in case he wasn't paying 
attention, we are talking about 234 miles of border security fencing or 
wall or barrier of some sort as enumerated by the Secretary of Homeland 
Security--not the President; the Secretary of Homeland Security.
  So when he says it is unspecified where it will be and what it will 
be, it is very closely and very particularly specified by the 
Secretary, not by the President, and it is the 10 worst sites along the 
border where there is no barrier now.

[[Page H588]]

  Let's get on with the other business of the afternoon.
  Madam Speaker, I am here this afternoon with nearly a dozen of my 
colleagues in the House Freedom Caucus who will lay out the case, with 
specifics, for the President's policies on border security, which are 
aimed at keeping America safe and enforcing our laws. These are for 
America's policies.
  The government has been shut down for the longest period in modern 
history. It is shut down over the topic of border security and whether 
to fund the construction of a border wall on points along our southern 
  Right now, our immigration is our single greatest policy failure, a 
failure that is a manufactured one. It was created from political 
cowardice, short-termism, and self-interest, but it is a moral, legal, 
and human catastrophe of epic proportions.
  The President is fighting to fix it, and the Freedom Caucus is 
fighting to fix it right alongside him. Squarely in our way is a party 
gripped by denial, their political equivalent of hear no evil and see 
no evil.
  We learned as children that putting your head in the sand doesn't 
change the reality of the situation, the facts are facts. They don't 
have a political position. It is not about how we feel or what we wish 
the facts are. They are what they are.
  Let me quote a recent Vox article, a publication, mind you, that is 
no friend to conservatives or the Trump Administration:

       Hundreds, or even thousands, of migrant families are set to 
     be released from government detention along the U.S.-Mexico 
     border over the next several days. But while the mass release 
     of families may cheer critics of the Trump administration's 
     treatment of immigrant families, the government's new plan 
     will probably lead to hundreds of families getting dropped 
     off en masse at bus stations--literally out in the cold.

  Now the U.S. Border Patrol is so jammed that it had to release these 
illegal aliens at a Greyhound station on Christmas Eve. And that is not 
the Border Patrol's fault; it is an activist judge in California who 
said that Customs and Border Protection must release these individuals. 
But there is nowhere for these families to go. Charities at the border 
are full. Detention facilities at the border are full.
  Some more quotes from the same article:

       But over the summer and fall of 2018, it has become clear 
     that there really is a crisis at the border--because more 
     families are coming to more places than U.S. officials have 
     ever been capable of dealing with.
       During the peak of unauthorized migration into the U.S. 
     circa 2000, the overwhelming majority of migrants were single 
     men; only 10 percent of Border Patrol apprehensions were 
     families or unaccompanied children.
       In November 2018, 57 percent were families or children. 
     More families crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without 
     documentation in November of 2018 than in many months since 
     Department of Homeland Security started tracking family 
     apprehension separately. More children and families crossed 
     in November 2018 than crossed during the peak of the ``border 
     crisis'' in June of 2014.

  This is Vox, mind you. This is analysis from a liberal publication. 
Let me repeat the line.

       But over the summer and fall of 2018, it has become clear 
     that there really is a crisis at the border.

  Again, this is from Vox.
  Now, let me quote the Washington Post, as you know, another great fan 
of our President. This is an article from January 5:

       In recent weeks, so many parents with children have been 
     among the 2,000 unauthorized migrants who are being taken 
     into Federal custody each day that authorities have resorted 
     to mass releases of families onto the streets of El Paso and 
     other border cities. U.S. agents are bringing dozens of 
     migrants, coughing and feverish, each day to clinics and 
     hospitals after stays in jam-packed holding cells where 
     children sleep on concrete floors and huddle in plastic 
     sheets for warmth.

  If this isn't a crisis, can someone tell me what is?
  To all reporters hyperventilating in TV studios who fact-check the 
Freedom Caucus and the President, I am sure it is not a crisis; but to 
these print reporters at Vox and The Washington Post who did their jobs 
and reported the news, this is a crisis.
  The agency tasked with basic Federal responsibility in this 
situation, Customs and Border Protection, lacks the resources to do its 
job humanely and effectively. They lack the legal resources. They lack 
the financial resources.
  This is the current status quo. This is why we are here. This is why 
nothing is happening in Washington, D.C., about ending this shutdown, 
because some folks on the other side of the aisle, in both this body 
and the one across the Capitol, refuse to deal with the lack of 
  I ask my Democratic colleagues: Is this what you support, this status 
quo? Do you support leaving illegal foreign nationals, human beings, on 
the streets of the United States at bus stations and by the side of the 

                              {time}  1700

  Do you support incentivizing them to journey through one of the 
highest intensity drug trafficking zones in the world, where all manner 
of horrific things occur? Do you believe this is moral? I don't. 
Neither does the President, who requested another $5 billion for 
detention beds so we can protect our borders and the illegal aliens who 
violate them. It is in writing in this letter from Director Vought at 
OMB, which I will include in the Record.

         Executive Office of the President, Office of Management 
           and Budget,
                                  Washington, DC, January 6, 2019.
     Hon. Richard Shelby,
     Chairman, Committee on Appropriations,
     U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
       Dear Mr. Chairman: The President continues to stress the 
     need to pass legislation that will both reopen the Federal 
     Government and address the security and humanitarian crisis 
     at our Nation's Southwest border. The Administration has 
     previously transmitted budget proposals that would support 
     his ongoing commitment to dramatically reduce the entry of 
     illegal immigrants, criminals, and drugs; keep out 
     terrorists, public safety threats, and those otherwise 
     inadmissible under U.S. law; and ensure that those who do 
     enter without legal permission can be promptly and safely 
     returned home.
       Appropriations bills for fiscal year (FY) 2019 that have 
     already been considered by the current and previous 
     Congresses are inadequate to fully address these critical 
     issues. Any agreement for the current year should satisfy the 
     following priorities:
       Border Wall, Customs and Border Protection (CBP): The 
     President requests $5.7 billion for construction of a steel 
     barrier for the Southwest border. Central to any strategy to 
     achieve operational control along the southern border is 
     physical infrastructure to provide requisite impedance and 
     denial. In short, a physical barrier--wall--creates an 
     enduring capability that helps field personnel stop, slow 
     down and/or contain illegal entries. In concert with the U.S. 
     Army Corps of Engineers, CBP has increased its capacity to 
     execute these funds. The Administration's full request would 
     fund construction of a total of approximately 234 miles of 
     new physical barrier and fully fund the top 10 priorities in 
     CBP's Border Security Improvement Plan. This would require an 
     increase of $4.1 billion over the FY 2019 funding level in 
     the Senate version of the bill.
       Immigration Judge Teams--Executive Office for Immigration 
     Review (EOIR): The President requests at least $563 million 
     for 75 additional Immigration Judges and support staff to 
     reduce the backlog of pending immigration cases. The 
     Administration appreciates that the Senate's FY 2019 bill 
     provides this level of funding, and looks forward to working 
     with the Congress on further increases in this area to 
     facilitate an expansion of in-country processing of asylum 
       Law Enforcement Personnel, Border Patrol Agent Hiring, CBP: 
     The President requests $211 million to hire 750 additional 
     Border Patrol Agents in support of his promise to keep our 
     borders safe and secure. While the Senate's FY 2019 bill 
     supports some Border Patrol Agent hiring, fulfilling this 
     request requires an increase of $100 million over the FY 2019 
     funding level in the Senate version of the bill.
       Law Enforcement Personnel, Immigration and Customs 
     Enforcement (ICE): The President requests $571 million for 
     2,000 additional law enforcement personnel, as well as 
     support staff, who enforce our U.S. immigration laws and help 
     address gang violence, smuggling and trafficking, and the 
     spread of drugs in our communities. This would require an 
     increase of $571 million over the FY 2019 funding level in 
     the Senate version of the bill.
       Detention Beds, ICE: The President requests $4.2 billion to 
     support 52,000 detention beds. Given that in recent months, 
     the number of people attempting to cross the border illegally 
     has risen to 2,000 per day, providing additional resources 
     for detention and transportation is essential. This would 
     require an increase of $798 million over the FY 2019 funding 
     level in the Senate version of the bill.
       Humanitarian Needs: The President requests an additional 
     $800 million to address urgent humanitarian needs. This 
     includes additional funding for enhanced medical support, 
     transportation, consumable supplies appropriate for the 
     population, and additional temporary facilities for 
     processing and short-term custody of this vulnerable

[[Page H589]]

     population, which are necessary to ensure the well-being of 
     those taken into custody.
       Counter-narcotics/weapons Technology: Beyond these specific 
     budgetary requests, the Administration looks forward to 
     working with Congress to provide resources in other areas to 
     address the unprecedented challenges we face along the 
     Southwest border. Specifically, $675 million would provide 
     Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) technology at inbound lanes at 
     U.S. Southwest Border Land Ports of Entry (LPOE) would allow 
     CBP to deter and detect more contraband, including narcotics, 
     weapons, and other materials that pose nuclear and 
     radiological threats. This would require an increase of $631 
     million over the FY 2019 funding level in the Senate version 
     of the bill.
       In addition, to address the humanitarian crisis of 
     unaccompanied alien children (UACs), Democrats have proposed 
     in-country asylum processing for Central American Minors. 
     This would require a statutory change, along with 
     reallocation of State Department funds to establish in-
     country processing capacities at Northern Triangle consulates 
     and embassies. Furthermore, for the new procedure to achieve 
     the desired humanitarian result, a further corresponding 
     statutory change would be required to ensure that those who 
     circumvent the process and come to the United States without 
     authorization can be promptly returned home. Without the 
     latter change, in-country processing will not reduce the 
     unauthorized flow or successfully mitigate the humanitarian 
       These upfront investments in physical barriers and 
     technology, as well as legislation to close loopholes in our 
     immigration system, will reduce illegal immigration, the flow 
     of illicit drugs entering our country and reduce the long 
     term costs for border and immigration enforcement activities.
       The Administration looks forward to advancing these 
     critical priorities as part of legislation to reopen the 
                                                Russell T. Vought,
                                                  Acting Director.

  Mr. PERRY. The President has asked for $800 million for things like 
medical care for these migrants, for transportation, for meals, and for 
short-term custody facilities to deal with the inflow of illegal aliens 
our laws have caused.
  He has asked for 57 new immigration judge teams to process these 
people, hear claims with merit, and deal with claims that do not.
  And, yes, he asked for the wall to cover the 10 worst sites, as 
described by the Department of Homeland Security, to prevent entrants 
from pouring across the border, especially in the dead of winter and 
the extreme heat of summer.
  These are rational measures, and they are humanitarian measures.
  The cheap and disingenuous moralism of the Democrats in Congress has 
brought us to this point. They have opposed every one of these 
proposals to improve this system, not only in this Congress, but in 
every Congress before. This is the same posturing that is worsening 
this crisis, and I will say it again: This is a crisis.
  Now, our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have a clear 
choice to make. They can bow to the demands of their radical base that 
believes there is no difference or distinction between citizen and 
noncitizen, or they can come to the table to work with the President, 
which is our job; to protect the vulnerable, including the 30 percent 
of women who are sexually assaulted on the trek to the U.S.-Mexican 
border, the children who are preyed upon by human trafficking rings, 
and the innocent who are trying to make a better life for themselves 
but live in fear of the drug cartels and many others; to protect our 
borders; and to protect American citizens.
  They can provide Immigration and Customs Enforcement the tools, legal 
and financial, to do its job.
  What is not up for debate is whether the children shivering on the 
floor because we can't house them is a crisis. That is the bottom line 
  Even worse, American families are losing loved ones at the hands of 
illegal foreign nationals under preventable circumstances--preventable, 
completely preventable.
  Earlier today, we heard from Angel Moms, a sister and a brother, 
American citizens who lost loved ones because we aren't enforcing our 
immigration laws. This is completely and wholly unacceptable.
  We are a compassionate nation and a nation of laws, but the same laws 
apply to all of us. It is not this law for some and this law for 
others. We cannot allow ideology to prevent us from addressing the 
crisis. The situation is too dire for these people at risk, and the 
situation for America is critical.
  Tonight, the House Freedom Caucus stands with the President, and I am 
proud to stand with my colleagues to make the case to the American 
  Madam Speaker, we will next hear from Mr. Chip Roy on the 
effectiveness of walls, and then we will hear from Mr. Brooks from 
Alabama on the danger of these uncontrolled border policies to 
Americans, followed by Mr. Biggs from Arizona on what it is like to 
live in an unsecured border because he lives in Arizona.
  We will hear from Mr. Hice on opioids and the way our porous borders 
contribute to that crisis that is affecting every single town in the 
  We will hear from Mr. Griffith. We will also hear from Mr. Yoho; Mr. 
Meadows, our great chairman, the gentleman from North Carolina; as well 
as Mr. Cloud from Texas.
  This evening, we are going to get beyond the talking points and 
specifically lay out our case.
  Madam Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Roy).
  Mr. ROY. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania for 
  Madam Speaker, as a proud Texan, I am proud to give my first remarks 
on the floor of the United States House of Representatives today on the 
important issue of border security, critical to my district and 
critical to the State of Texas and our Nation.
  Hundreds of thousands of people seek to come to this country, both 
legally and illegally, each year. They are drawn to the hope of the 
greatest free society the world has ever known. But we are in danger of 
losing that which separates us from the other nations of the world, the 
rule of law. Nowhere is that more pronounced than the chaos and the 
lawlessness of our southern border.
  Freedom cannot flourish in chaos. Prosperity cannot emerge from fear. 
Yet, we have failed to secure our Nation because Members on both sides 
of the aisle have buried their heads in the sand over the last several 
decades, talking instead of doing. Americans are weary of our opinions 
and ready to see us do the job we were sent here to do.
  This isn't about numbers or statistics. It is about people. It is 
about Jared Vargas, a vibrant young college student studying computer 
science with dreams of working in the cybersecurity field. His life was 
cut tragically short when he was brutally murdered by an illegal alien 
in San Antonio last June.
  Jared's mother, Lori; his twin brother; and his younger sister don't 
care if I personally believe fences would be more effective than 
drones, or vice versa. And they don't care if one of my colleagues 
believes that 2,028 homicide charges against illegal aliens in 2018 is 
not enough to justify a border wall. For them, one matters enough.
  The Vargas family does care that Jared's murderer had been in ICE 
custody twice and had been arrested for a DWI and released just a month 
before he killed Jared.
  This current debate before us has a face. It has a name. That name is 
Jared. And his family wants justice for Jared.
  But it is also about the little girl who, today, will be exploited by 
drug cartels who know that sex trafficking can be more lucrative than 
trafficking drugs.
  It is about the young woman in Central America who saves money and 
pays every last dime she has to someone who promises to take her to a 
better life in America, only to be forced into a shipping container. 
She wakes up in Greece to find that she has been sold into the 
sex trade, and there is no one around her who speaks her language.

  According to Doctors Without Borders, roughly one-third of women 
making their way across the border are victims of sexual assault. I am 
old enough to remember, as a Senate lawyer, when Senator Tom Coburn 
spoke on the Senate floor in 2007 about rape trees. I find it 
unacceptable that today, a decade later, the border is littered with 
the clothes of new victims because we have failed to do anything as a 
body, as a Congress.
  In my visits to the border, one thing is clear: Dangerous cartels are 
calling the shots. I was talking to a Border Patrol agent last summer. 
He said:

       I am down here at night. I am by myself. I have no cell, no 
     radio. I can't see the river

[[Page H590]]

     through the thick cane. I can't drive along the river. And 
     the cartels have operational control of the border.

  That is what we are sending our guys down on the river, in the Rio 
Grande, to do to defend this Nation.
  So it is time for us to put partisanship aside and secure our border. 
Fences, cameras, radios, cell phones, more Border Patrol agents, 
additional immigration judges, cleared cane, navigable roads along the 
river, we need all these tools.
  To be clear, that is what is in the President's plan. That is what we 
are fighting to get. To be clear again, fences are a vital and 
necessary part of that security.
  It is absurd for anyone to argue that fences do not work, take your 
pick of an example throughout history, from the walls around medieval 
fortresses to the fencing around the White House and our military 
installations today.
  Ask a tort lawyer whether leaving your pool open, monitored by 
drones, will save you from liability if a child falls in your pool.
  The truth is, fences have worked since the dawn of time. Currently, 
we have 46 miles of reinforced fencing along the San Diego sector of 
the border. Before construction began in 1986, there were 630,000 
arrests. Compare that to almost 32,000 arrests in 2016.
  Fences work. Yet, 10 years ago, I heard members of the Senate 
Judiciary Committee argue that fences don't work because migrants then 
shifted from California to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
  Only in Washington is that logic passable. Fences don't work because 
they worked? That may have been the first time, though it won't be the 
last, that I heard someone say fencing is a 1st or 3rd or 18th century 
solution for a 21st century problem.
  But in El Paso, in Yuma, in Tucson, in Israel, fencing was put in 
place, and we have seen reductions of up to 90 percent or more in 
illegal crossings.
  This body has repeatedly authorized foreign assistance to our allies 
to help them secure their borders. But, at the same time, the House is 
crippled with inaction at securing our own.
  We have repeatedly authorized fencing for the United States of 
America, but we are here today trying to actually get it funded and get 
it built. It is time to stop posturing about things that everybody in 
America knows.
  In Texas, let's stop talking. Let's go down to Brownsville. Let's 
start building the fence where we need it and work our way up the 
  To my colleague who was speaking early about, well, where is the 
fence going to go? If we face an obstacle, let's discuss it. If a 
rancher needs access to water, we consider leaving an opening, post a 
guard, put up a camera, and then continue moving up the river.
  Let's work together for one simple goal. The United States of America 
should have operational control over its borders, not dangerous 
  Many on both sides of the aisle like to pretend that we shouldn't 
build a fence because it might be possible to go over or under it. Of 
course, that is possible, but that is not a reason not to build a 
  The fundamental question is this: Are we more secure with agents and 
drones, or are we more secure with agents, drones, and fences?
  This is not a partisan issue; it is a humanitarian crisis. It is time 
for us to stop bickering or hiding behind excuses and secure the border 
  It is time for America to reclaim operational control of its border, 
pay Federal workers who are doing their job, and make America secure 
  Mr. PERRY. Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from North Carolina 
(Mr. Meadows), the chairman of the Freedom Caucus.
  Mr. MEADOWS. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania 
for his leadership.
  Madam Speaker, I rise today because we have just heard, an hour 
before we came on the House floor, more debate about opening the 
government than we actually have had people negotiate to actually open 
the government.
  You know, there are all kinds of reasons why everyone is saying that 
the government is shut down, but the biggest reason is because no one 
is willing to negotiate on the other side of the aisle.
  I can tell you, the President, 16 blocks from here, was sitting here 
over Christmas and over New Year's, and, indeed, he was sitting here 
last weekend when 30 of my colleagues from across the aisle went to 
Puerto Rico on a junket with lobbyists to talk about how important the 
government shutdown must be to them.
  Well, I can tell you that the biggest fallacy in all of this is that 
all the perils that my colleagues opposite seem to demonstrate, and the 
urgency that is there, I haven't seen the urgency.
  We come in; we get sworn in; and what happens? They go home. The 
second weekend, what happens? They go to Puerto Rico.
  Even today, while the President invites Democrat colleagues to go 16 
blocks from here and negotiate on how we may solve this, what do they 
do? They turn down the President.
  Now, I can tell you, Madam Speaker, that there are a lot of things 
that are said on this particular House floor, but none more appropriate 
than today when we have our colleagues who were suggesting that this is 
easy to fix. They are exactly right. It is easy to fix. All we have to 
do is provide a little funding for border security and build a wall, 
because what we have at stake are the lives of innocent people.

  Madam Speaker, I looked in the face of moms today who had lost their 
kids. It truly broke my heart to think that, here we are debating this 
issue, and yet, for some reason, my colleagues opposite won't give a 
single dime.
  Let's find a single Democrat who is willing to give any amount of 
money to border barriers, and let's have a negotiation.
  But you know what? You can't find them. You can't find them, not 
because they are in Puerto Rico. You can't find them because they have 
built a wall between them and fair compromise.
  So, Madam Speaker, I am here today to suggest that we are here 
willing to negotiate. We are here willing to open back up the 
government, but not until the Democrats are willing to meet us halfway.
  I can tell you, this President stands ready to make a deal, but, 
quite frankly, it has been only one side of the equation willing to 
  I thank the gentleman for his leadership. I thank all my colleagues 
for being willing to stand up.
  Let's get this done right. Let's secure the border once and for all. 
And let's, indeed, make America safe again.
  Mr. PERRY. Madam Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. 

                              {time}  1715

  Mr. BROOKS of Alabama. Madam Speaker, in 2018, more than 2,000 
illegal aliens were apprehended by Federal law enforcement officers for 
homicides committed on American soil; that is roughly 2,000 dead in 
just 1 year. And that does not count some number of the 70,000 
Americans whose lives are snuffed out each year by poisonous drugs, 
much of which is shipped illegally into America across our porous 
southern border.
  Americans would know more about these horrific killings if the media 
diverted just a fraction of the time it spends on extolling illegal 
aliens and attacking our brave border patrol and ICE officers and 
agents to telling the stories of American lives needlessly ended by 
illegal aliens and our porous southern border.
  Today I share a few stories about those who died solely because of 
illegal aliens and our porous southern border.
  Louise Sollowin was a beloved mother, wife, and grandmother. Louise 
spent 50 years helping her sister fire up the oven at Omaha, 
Nebraska's, Orsi's Italian Bakery, where she worked well into her 80s.
  In 2013, after 93 years of life, Louise was brutally raped and beaten 
to death by an illegal alien. To make matters even more horrific, 
Louise's daughter found her bleeding, battered, and dying mother with a 
naked illegal alien passed out on top of her.
  In 2010 in Houston, Texas, 14-year-old Shatavia Anderson was shot in 
the chest and killed by two illegal aliens. Shatavia loved her family 
and loved talking on the phone. She proclaimed that one day she was 
``gonna be somebody.'' Shatavia was robbed of that dream by illegal 
  In July 2018 in my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, two drug-cartel 
related illegal aliens took Oralia Mendoza and her 13-year-old 
granddaughter, Mariah Lopez, from their

[[Page H591]]

home in the dark of night. Oralia was stabbed to death while her 
teenage granddaughter, Mariah, was forced to watch. Later, and in order 
to eliminate a witness, the illegal alien drug cartel members then 
beheaded Mariah and abandoned her body in the woods not far from where 
I live. Mariah's decaying body was not found for weeks. Mariah was a 
special needs student at Challenger Middle School. Her teachers 
described her as a ``sweet little girl'' who ``had a lot of friends.''
  I have a Washington staff member, Michaila Lindow, who well remembers 
being baby-sat as a young child by family friend, Tad Mattle. In 2009 
in Huntsville, Alabama, then 19-year-old Tad Mattle was driving home 
with his girlfriend from a church social. While stopped at a traffic 
light, an illegal alien, who was fleeing the scene of yet another crime 
and whose blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit, rear-
ended Tad Mattle's car. This illegal alien had three prior DUIs. Tad 
Mattle's car exploded on impact, tragically killing Tad Mattle and his 
girlfriend. Tad, the oldest of three children, enjoyed making music and 
served as percussion leader in the Grissom High School marching band. 
Three days before he was killed, Tad was awarded a full scholarship to 
the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he planned to pursue an 
engineering degree.
  Mr. Speaker, each of these horrific deaths have one thing in common: 
none of these lives would have been stolen from us, but for illegal 
aliens aided and abetted by Democrats who protect, promote, and prefer 
the lives of illegal aliens to the lives of American citizens.
  Mr. Speaker, these killings on American soil will continue if America 
does not secure our porous southern border.
  As for those who support amnesty and open borders, how many American 
lives and dreams must be snuffed out by illegal aliens before 
Washington has the guts and integrity to secure our porous southern 
border? How many Americans, dead Americans, does it take before you 
will start saving lives rather than aiding and abetting those illegal 
aliens who take them?
  Mr. PERRY. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Alabama and 
yield to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Hice).
  Mr. HICE of Georgia. Madam Speaker, I thank my good friend, the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania, for his leadership on this.
  I am honored to be a part of this group dealing with a problem that 
we all know is a reality and yet so few seem to be willing to do 
anything about.
  We have thousands of new aliens entering our country every day, and 
this surge of illegal immigrants flooding across our porous borders 
puts our Nation at risk in more ways than one.
  In 2017 alone, more than 900 Americans died every week from the 
opioid-related crisis and overdoses. Every American, everyone in this 
chamber knows personally someone who has been affected by this, be it a 
family member, a friend, a coworker, a neighbor, where the opioid 
crisis has penetrated into these lives. And its advancement continues 
to march down the streets of our Nation.
  The story of the opioid epidemic certainly begins many times with 
prescription pain medications, pharmaceutical companies, pill mills, 
overprescribing, many of these kinds of ways, but today we see the 
opioid crisis being driven by the widespread availability of cheap, 
powerful drugs like heroin, often laced with synthetic opioids like 
  Make no mistake about it: this is a human tragedy. It is a family 
tragedy. It is a national tragedy. It is a national crisis that we are 
facing right now, largely because of loopholes that we have in our 
immigration laws, but also unquestionably because of the physical 
barriers that don't exist. As a result, we have illegals continuing to 
storm into our country and bring with them all sorts of illegal 
  Earlier today, I stood alongside my colleagues and met many angel 
families who have been so personally impacted, have lost loved ones 
because of our deeply flawed immigration policies and so forth.
  One in particular I met today Susan Stevens. Susan had a daughter, 
Victoria, who 1 year ago next week lost her life. She was a 
cheerleader, she was an artist. She was a vibrant young lady whose life 
was taken from this world largely because of our inability to deal with 
and stop the smuggling of illegal drugs coming into our country and to 
secure our border.

  We have all heard the statistics. Nearly 90 percent of heroin coming 
into our country comes into our country from the southern border, 90 
percent. Sadly, stories like Victoria Stevens' are becoming all too 
common; we are hearing these stories on a daily basis.
  I am stunned when my colleagues on the other side look at the 
President's cry at this national crisis at our border as some sort of 
political stunt. This is no political stunt. This is reality.
  Two weeks ago we all watched as Speaker Pelosi jokingly made the 
claim that she would be willing to give a single dollar to secure our 
border. I would remind the Speaker, this is no joking matter and this 
is no laughing matter. These are real lives. This is a Nation that is 
being impacted by her refusal to deal with the issue at hand.
  This country ought to be a safe haven for law-abiding citizens, but 
instead we are watching communities that have become vulnerable and 
susceptible to crime.
  How many more families need to lose loved ones before we take action? 
How many more families will no longer hear the laugh of their child 
because we are not taking action right here, before we secure our 
borders? What is it going to take? The Mexican cartels are a cunning 
enemy, and yet Democrats refuse to acknowledge the situation. They call 
it a manufactured crisis.
  I guarantee you, had they been there today with these angel families, 
they would not have left saying this is a manufactured crisis. They 
would have been pricked to the heart of the reality of what we are 
facing in this country.
  And yet they refuse to come to the table. They refuse to come with 
real solutions. They refuse to compromise at all.
  Instead, as has already been mentioned, this past weekend they go to 
Puerto Rico on a virtual vacation while hundreds of thousands of 
American workers are losing their paychecks, being held by Democrats 
off on a vacation at an island getaway.
  The Democrat playbook is nothing but obstruct at all costs. And, 
again, this was played out today while the President invites them to 
the White House, and they refuse to show up yet again, showing what 
they are really made of. And they refuse to deal with our borders.
  More than 49,000 Americans died last year from heroin and opioid-
related overdoses, and yet the Democrats, with their open border 
policies, refuse to deal with this situation.
  I am convinced that they are becoming accomplices in the countless 
deaths yet to come by their refusal to deal with the dangerous drugs, 
illegal activities, and our broken borders.
  This is precisely why we must deal with the President's request for a 
border wall and to do so immediately. The consequences are too dire. We 
cannot continue to wait.
  We are here today committed to ensure the integrity of our borders 
and the safety of the American people through the building of the wall 
on our southern border. We are here today fighting for the families of 
the victims who want a reasonable immigration system to protect our 
children and our grandchildren.
  Tackling this immigration problem and protecting American families 
from criminal aliens is a fundamental responsibility and duty that we 
all have, and I am honored to stand with my colleagues to press this 
issue and to call the Democrats to come to the table and deal with the 
  Madam Speaker, again, I thank my friend; I appreciate so much the 
  Mr. PERRY. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman. I yield to the 
gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Jordan).
  Mr. JORDAN. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding to me.
  Madam Speaker, you know why we can't get a deal on the border 
security wall? You know why we can't get a deal? Because today's left 
has taken the most radical positions in American history.
  They applaud Kaepernick when he disrespects the flag, they embrace 
Governor Cuomo when he says America

[[Page H592]]

was never that great, and they cheer on Maxine Waters when she says go 
out and harass anyone who supports the President.
  Today's left thinks that America is just another country, just one of 
the 190-some countries on the planet.
  Madam Speaker, the United States of America is not just another 
country. It is the greatest Nation in history that has done more good 
for more people than any country ever; a special place, a special place 
where people from all over the world, all shapes, all sizes, all 
colors, all talents come to so they can chase down their goals, chase 
down their dreams, make life better for themselves and their family.
  That is this country: a special place, where people come and respect 
the Constitution, cherish the Bill of Rights, and embrace the rule of 
  But today's left, specifically on this issue, Democrat Congressman 
Blumenauer said, abolish ICE; Secretary Clinton, when she was running 
for the highest office in the land, said we need a borderless 
hemisphere; Speaker Pelosi said walls are immoral. And just last week, 
Stacey Abrams, Governor candidate from the State of Georgia, said 
noncitizens should be able to vote. Think about that: noncitizens 
should be able to vote.
  Americans believe, Republicans believe, the House Freedom Caucus 
believes that borders need to be strong. Americans believe, we believe 
that there is a difference, a big difference, between legal immigration 
and illegal immigration. And Americans and Republicans and the House 
Freedom Caucus believe that a border security wall will help stop the 
drug problem, the gang problem, and the human trafficking problem.

                              {time}  1730

  Mr. Speaker, this is not just a fight about a border security wall. 
It is bigger than that. It is about those fundamental values, those 
fundamental principles, that make us the greatest Nation in history.
  The House Freedom Caucus and the House Republicans stand with our 
President. We know there needs to be a border security wall. We know 
this needs to happen to deal with all the things that have been talked 
  That is why we are here. That is why this is important. That is why 
this fight is so fundamental. And that is why it is important we stand 
with the President of the United States and make sure it gets done.
  Mr. PERRY. Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. 
  Mr. BIGGS. Madam Speaker, I thank my friend from Pennsylvania for 
organizing this.
  To be honest with you, I really can't believe we still have to have 
this conversation. The idea that the United States of America should 
turn a blind eye to protecting its national borders violates one of the 
few responsibilities enumerated to the Federal Government in the 
Constitution, the one we just swore an oath to just a couple weeks ago, 
to ensure the security of our Nation and provide for its defense. How 
can anyone argue that we are safer as a nation by not having any idea 
who is entering our country today?
  Unlike many Members of Congress, I was born and raised in southern 
Arizona, mere miles to the Mexican border, not too far away, an hour or 
so drive. I have met with Border Patrol agents and ranchers who live in 
the region several times alone recently. There is no other way to put 
this: The situation on the American side of the border is dire and 
equally as grave on the other side.
  For 8 years under the Obama administration, the Federal Government 
effectively told Americans that their safety and their sovereignty were 
not important. They told Border Patrol and ICE agents that the jobs 
they were doing were essentially pointless, because the Obama 
administration was going to find as many ways as possible to prevent 
further border security and circumvent the immigration laws passed by 
Congress, including reducing the pay of Border Patrol agents.
  If the House Democrats have their way, they will continue down this 
suboptimum, irresponsible path until it is simply too late.
  I visited the 75-mile stretch of the border that crosses through one 
of Arizona's Indian reservations. Along the way, the Border Patrol 
agent who was guiding us pointed out drug shacks and lookouts that the 
cartels use to alert smugglers of the Border Patrol's presence. It is 
astounding, quite frankly.
  Some will argue that there is fencing along many of those miles and 
try to convince you that the area is secure and no fencing is 
necessary. But let me tell you something, that is not true. The fencing 
consists of a single strand of barbed wire. There might be some 
Normandy barriers, those cross barriers, now and then, and there is 
some pole fencing, all of which easily can be walked over or stepped 
through. No one who has been there can argue with a straight face that 
the ability to walk across the border with little effort can be called 
  On that same trip, I met with cattle ranchers near Nogales. Each of 
those families has encountered multiple illegal aliens on their 
property--in fact, on a regular basis. It is so grave that they set up 
cameras so they could capture footage of the illegal traffic. I have 
seen that footage; I have seen the videos. It is not groups of sweet 
mothers and children coming across. It is groups of armed, young men, 
with drugs strapped to their backs, 50-pound packages. They are wearing 
carpet shoes to disguise their footprints in the dirt.
  I recently spoke with a rancher along the border. He has told me that 
he has been victimized by three home invasions and more than a dozen 
burglaries, not counting the near constant trespasses that victimize 
his family.
  I am curious to know what the open border advocates think about that 
kind of traffic. Should known drug smugglers have the freedom to 
traipse across private property and come into America? These Americans 
own their land, but the House Democrats see no reason to protect them 
from this invasion.
  To any Member of the Chamber who disagrees with border security, or 
doesn't know how to describe it, including with a wall, how would you 
feel about constant trespassing and vandalizing of your own property? 
Don't you think the government should do something about it, or should 
we just turn a blind eye?
  During a more recent trip, I had lunch with about 15 rank-and-file 
Border Patrol agents working in southern Arizona. These are the men and 
women defending our borders every day. They are putting their lives on 
the line, chasing after armed drug smugglers and being assaulted by 
illegal aliens they encounter.
  By the way, just a couple of weeks ago, there was one attacked who 
had his face broken open by a rock after he was bitten and punched and 
attacked. Let me tell you, it leads to low morale in the agency.
  They are the only DHS law enforcement agency that received a pay cut 
under the previous administration, and we can't fund them back yet. I 
don't understand that.
  When they hear Members of Congress condemn the work they are doing 
and advocating instead for lawlessness and open borders, these agents 
have little incentive or motivation to continue fighting for our 
Nation's security.
  This morning, I stood, like others have mentioned, with Angel 
Families who have lost loved ones. Two of them are in my district, the 
families of Brandon Mendoza and Grant Ronnebeck. They have suffered 
unjust harms. They have lost their children.
  When I hear the gentleman from California say, oh, we can't get to 
the Smithsonian museum, well, for these people, their children will 
never get to the Smithsonian museum. They will mourn, and they do 
grieve. I am thankful for them standing up.
  I will just tell you, ladies and gentlemen, there is a crisis on the 
border. We must deal with this with courage.

  I call on my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to quit being 
obstructionists. We have to fund a border wall and the border security 
asked for.
  Mr. PERRY. Madam Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. 
  Mr. GRIFFITH. Madam Speaker, ``Facts are stubborn things; and 
whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our 
passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.''
  John Adams made that statement almost 250 years ago. I recall his 

[[Page H593]]

when House Speaker Pelosi, in arguing against more funding for security 
at the southern border, claimed that President Trump was 
``manufacturing a crisis.''
  The facts on the border establish that a crisis exists. According to 
the Department of Homeland Security data, 161,000 family units arrived 
in fiscal year 2018, an increase of 50 percent, and 60,000 
unaccompanied children arrived in the same time period, an increase of 
25 percent. Asylum claims have surged an astounding 2,000 percent in 
the past 5 years, although most of these claims will be found invalid 
later, after judicial review.
  These surging numbers are overwhelming our resources on the border 
and creating a humanitarian, security, and legal crisis.
  The Mexican side of the border is often controlled by Mexican 
criminal cartels or gangs. They charge a fee to assist border 
crossings. To get here, many illegal immigrants put themselves in the 
hands of these vicious smuggling gangs, which are looking for profit 
and are uninterested in basic human dignity.
  On the dangerous journey to the border, 7 out of 10 migrants suffer 
from violence, and 31 percent of women and 17 percent of men are 
sexually assaulted. Too often, the fees these gangs charge are 
indentured servitude in the sex trade. Porous borders only encourage 
more business for the criminal gangs who commit these abuses.
  Further, more than people are being brought across the border, as you 
have heard. Increased amounts of illicit substances are entering as 
well. Meth, trafficked across the border by these cartels into places 
across the country, including my district in southwest Virginia, 
increased by 38 percent from fiscal year 2017 to fiscal year 2018. That 
same period saw a 22 percent increase in heroin and an astonishing 73 
percent increase in fentanyl.
  Even when current security measures intercept people crossing the 
border illegally, there isn't enough room in facilities to detain these 
individuals until a judicial hearing can be held. Accordingly, most 
illegal immigrants are released with notice to appear at a hearing in 
the future. By the time of the hearing, they have either disappeared 
back into the clutches of the cartels or into the underground economy.
  In my opinion, these facts classify the situation on the southern 
border as a crisis.
  President Trump has asked for $5.7 billion to build a barrier on the 
southern border, and additional funding for personnel. What is more, he 
is willing to negotiate with the Democrats in the House and in the 
Senate. Congressional Republicans are also ready to compromise.
  In contrast, Democrat leaders refuse to budge. They say they will 
give no money for a wall. Speaker Pelosi even called a wall immoral.
  Her views on a barrier's immorality may come as a surprise to many on 
her side of the aisle. When Congress voted on the Secure Fence Act, 
which provided for 700 miles of fencing in 2006, it received the 
support of 64 Democrats in the House and 26 in the Senate, including 
Chuck Schumer, now the Senate Democrat leader, and then-Senators Barack 
Obama and Hillary Clinton.
  Instead, she appears afraid to get to yes on a deal with the 
President. Speaker Pelosi appears to be afraid to get to that deal.
  Another objection she has raised to the wall is that illegal drugs 
and other smuggled goods also come through our legal ports of entry 
rather than across the border. President Trump responded by including 
an additional $675 million to combat smuggling at the ports of entry.
  Further, Democrats say the government should be reopened before they 
can come to the table. But when debating immigration last summer, the 
House Democrats never offered a compromise on a wall. When debating 
spending bills this fall, House Democrats never offered to compromise 
on a wall.
  For 30 years, the American people have been promised a barrier on the 
southern border. Particularly for the last 4 months when the government 
was, in fact, open, the last 4 months of 2018, House Democrats didn't 
offer a solution. Why should anyone believe now that, if the government 
is reopened, they will suddenly find a way to compromise?
  Reaching a compromise is difficult when one side doesn't admit there 
is a problem. A porous border has caused a crisis.
  I urge Speaker Pelosi to come to the table. Let's talk about ways to 
secure the border, protect the American people, end the humanitarian 
crisis, and reopen the government.
  Mr. PERRY. Madam Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. 
  Mr. YOHO. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania for 
yielding on such an important topic.
  I am glad to be here tonight because I think it is important that we 
go out and make our case to the American people and tell the truth, 
which is not what you are going to hear in the media or from our 
Democratic colleagues, as we have heard earlier today.
  The government now has been shut down for 25 days, breaking the 
record for the longest partial government shutdown in history. We would 
like to express our empathy and concern for those affected, and may 
this be resolved sooner than later.
  Why has this been so long? Because Democrats refuse to come to the 
table to negotiate a solution. Instead, they would rather bring up 
messaging bills that don't fund vital programs. Also, they can say they 
didn't support President Trump's border wall.

  In fact, today, we passed a bill that passed in the House that we 
passed last Congress. It was on hatred and hate speech and all that. 
They won't address this issue. They want to walk away from this.
  They don't want to support President Trump's border wall so they can 
go to their constituents and say they won. This is all about the 2020 
Presidential election. They aren't concerned about border security or 
the security of the American people.
  This is not a game. We are not talking about a game. We are talking 
about the rule of law, security for the American people and our Nation.
  This President has been confronted with an unprecedented degree of 
obstruction from the Democratic Party. President Trump has asked the 
Democratic leadership if they would negotiate over the wall if the 
government was reopened. Speaker Pelosi said no. She has said over and 
over again that walls are immoral and not one penny for a wall.
  Ms. Pelosi, I am asking you, and the American people are asking you, 
to do what is right: negotiate border security and pay our patriotic 
workers who aren't getting paid.
  This obstruction is unnecessary and hypocritical. How is funding for 
border security unreasonable? The answer is that it isn't.

                              {time}  1745

  Democrats have supported fences at the border in the past. In 2006, 
over half the Democratic Senators, including Hillary Clinton, Chuck 
Schumer, and Barack Obama, voted to build 700 miles of security fence; 
138 Democratic House Members voted for that bill.
  Democrats must realize the importance of border security but would 
rather sacrifice security for political gamesmanship. This is a matter 
of national security and can no longer be ignored.
  On average, 2,000 inadmissible, illegal migrants arrive at our 
southern border daily. That means, in the last 25 days, approximately 
50,000 illegal migrants have sought entry at our border without going 
through the proper channels. And there are proper channels.
  I remain a strong supporter of border security and will continue to 
defend the need for this essential funding. Our porous border and weak 
enforcement laws have allowed for illegal immigrants to go unchecked. 
Liberal cities and liberal States with liberal policies supported by 
our liberal colleagues continually put Americans in jeopardy.
  Just last night, three MS-13 gang members were picked up and arrested 
for assault on a 16-year-old. Their ages were 20, 19, and 17. All three 
were gang members of MS-13. Two of them had been previously released by 
a Federal judge, and all confirmed that they came into this country in 
2016 under President Obama's illegal DACA program.
  If you talk to the Democrats, they tell you that $5.7 billion is too 
much to

[[Page H594]]

pay for protection at our southern border; but what they won't tell you 
is, if the U.S. were to grant amnesty or a path to citizenships for all 
illegal aliens currently living in our country, it would cost an 
estimated $2.6 trillion. That is an easy choice from the perspective of 
$5.7 billion as the price to pay for our national security.
  We are facing unprecedented obstructionism from the Democrats, and we 
can't reward them by backing down. We can and will win if we continue 
to fight.
  When I talk to people in my district, when you can break down why are 
we here, what our cause is, and what our principles are, they support 
us. People on the border that are border security guards support us.
  That is why I believe the Democrats will have to come to their senses 
and negotiate as more and more Americans support our view from what you 
have heard here today. I appreciate the Freedom Caucus for standing up 
and pointing these things out.
  Meanwhile, this shutdown wore on through the weekend, and I along 
with my Republican colleagues stayed in town to end it, but the 
Democrats chose, instead, to go to Puerto Rico to party with over 100 
D.C. lobbyists while calling on non-U.S. citizens to be able to have 
the right to vote, and they watched the play, ``Hamilton.''
  It is no wonder we haven't been able to negotiate a deal with the 
Democrats. They won't deal. In the face of their refusal to negotiate, 
we don't have any choice. I and my colleagues are prepared to be here 
through the weekend, every weekend, until we can put enough pressure on 
the other party to be reasonable and come to a solution.
  The right thing to do is to negotiate.
  Mr. PERRY. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Florida, and I 
now yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Cloud).
  Mr. CLOUD. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania for 
  This debate over securing our border has become a debate over the 
morality of our efforts, and I welcome that debate. But if we are to 
debate this issue of border security on the basis of morality, it is 
fair for us not only to ask how this issue affects our own Nation, but 
to look across our border and see how our national policy affects those 
beyond our borders.
  For those of us who live near our southern border, we understand all 
too well the effects of the criminal cartels who profit from abusing 
our Nation's generous immigration laws.
  When I visited the Rio Grande Valley just recently, a rancher with 
land on the border described the situation, saying that he finds dead 
migrants on his land all the time.
  In my hometown of Victoria, Texas, 19 migrants died of suffocation 
and overheating after being trapped in the back of a trailer abandoned 
by a smuggler with a callous disregard for human life.
  But beyond our borders, these cartels carry an outsized influence in 
Mexico and in developing nations in Central America. We know that 
cartels profit from smuggling drugs and humans across the border. They 
siphon oil from pipelines. They extort families and businesses and 
kidnap for profit.
  The barbarism of these criminal cartels has led to 150,000 homicides 
in Mexico, alone, since 2006. They have worked their corrupting 
influence into the halls of government and law enforcement, hindering 
the people of these nations from developing and realizing the blessings 
of liberty for themselves.
  Our Federal Government's unwillingness to control our border allows 
cartels to amass profits of tens of billions of dollars each year 
smuggling drugs and humans into our country, with a devastating toll on 
the most vulnerable in our Nation. Our lack of border security allows 
these criminal cartels to wield their corrupting influence in a way 
that makes positive change so difficult in these developing countries.
  Unfortunately, like too many issues these days, border security has 
become a divisive and a partisan issue when, historically, this has had 
broad support. But there should be nothing partisan about ending a 
humanitarian and criminal crisis that is driven by cartels and enabled 
by our Federal Government's failure to act.
  Congress has a responsibility to protect the citizens of our country 
and to end the humanitarian crisis on our southern border, and it is 
past time to reform our broken asylum system and secure the border.
  Mr. PERRY. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Texas for being 
part of this discussion
  Madam Speaker, may I inquire as to how much time I have remaining.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Pennsylvania has 3 
minutes remaining.
  Mr. PERRY. Madam Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. 
  Mr. GOHMERT. Madam Speaker, we hear that walls don't work, yet this 
is a picture of the Democratic National Convention in 2016. They put up 
a barrier. They put up a fence because they wanted to protect 
themselves like people in America want to protect themselves.
  And there is a lovely gate, wall. They have them everywhere there is 
something that needs to be secured. Every single Democrat who is 
standing against securing our border has an outer wall to their home.
  If walls don't work, they can eliminate that. People can come and go 
as they please. But they know deep down in their hearts, they secure 
their dead bolts. They secure their home. They may even have a wall 
around their outer wall because walls work.
  Madam Speaker, I thank my friend from Pennsylvania for yielding to 
  Mr. PERRY. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Texas (Mr. 
Gohmert) for sharing his thoughts on this topic.
  Madam Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Davidson).
  Mr. DAVIDSON of Ohio. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman from 
Pennsylvania for yielding.
  Madam Speaker, our bodies should unite to stop the violent cartels 
and drug lords who have taken advantage of the humanitarian national 
security crisis on our southern border. Border security is national 
security, and we need to be doing everything we can to secure our 
southern border.
  For years, our senior Border Patrol officials have made modest 
requests for tactical barriers. The President's request prioritizes the 
top 10 of 17 priority areas that Border Patrol wants to secure.
  The men and women patrolling our borders put their lives on the line 
every day to keep us safe from terrorism, drug trafficking, sex 
trafficking, gunrunning, money laundering, and all sorts of dangerous 
crimes. They routinely encounter some of the most dangerous criminals 
and traffickers anywhere in the world.
  They seize drugs that would have otherwise made it onto Ohio streets 
where we are dealing with the tragedy of this opioid crisis that has 
killed far too many of our friends and neighbors. They have also 
arrested illegal aliens who were charged and convicted of crimes, 
including sexual assault, kidnapping, and homicide. A significant 
percentage of women and girls entering the country illegally are raped.
  We should be giving our personnel on the border the resources they 
need to get the job done. Nevertheless, millions of Americans want to 
participate in this great cause. They have contributed private funds 
and would like to give directly to our government.
  That is why I introduced the Buy a Brick, Build the Wall Act, which 
would allow the Treasury Department to help fund this wall and make 
sure the resources go to the cause that so many people support. We need 
to unite and secure our border.
  Mr. PERRY. Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.