In a pool spray with reporters following a meeting with GOP Senators to discuss immigration, President Donald Trump made it clear he has no intention of letting go of building a wall along the southern border — a major platform promise — and securing U.S. immigration practices.
As has been widely reported, Trump reiterated that any legislation dealing with DACA and the so-called “dreamers” — children of illegal immigrants born in the U.S. — must include funding for his border wall. He noted that the current immigration system “fails Americans,” and stressed the need to fully fund and support government officials working border security positions.
We need to ensure our immigration officers finally have the resources, tools, and authorities that they desperately deserve and need to save and protect American lives. Even the Border Patrol agents, as you saw recently, killed — a couple of them killed; one very badly hurt. It’s a rough job and they’re incredible people, along with the ICE agents. These are incredible people. They’ve been with me right from the beginning, and they love what we’re doing.
That’s why our position has been clear and very clear from the beginning. Any legislation on DACA must secure the border with a wall. It must give our immigration officers the resources they need to stop illegal immigration and also to stop visa overstays. And, crucially, the legislation must end chain migration. It must end the visa lottery. Dangerous. And I think many of the Democrats agree with us on that now.
The president was flanked by Senators Grassley, Tillis, Lankford, Cornyn, Cotton, and Graham; as well as accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, who thanked the president for proceeding on the border security and DACA issue with “a big heart.”
“And you’ve opened the door to an agreement on DACA, and today is part of an ongoing discussion with these Republican leaders but also with Democrats on Capitol Hill to accomplish that,” Pence said. “And I look forward to being a part of it.”
Trump asked several of the Senators to say a word or two about his efforts regarding immigration, and they were complimentary and expressed gratitude that the issue was emerging as a top priority. The most compelling statement came from Texas Senator John Cornyn who spoke of an immigration system that was being taken for granted and abused by those with nefarious agendas.
“America’s the most generous country in the world when it comes to legal immigration but that generosity has been abused by people who are exploiting the vulnerabilities we have along the border with a lack of enforcement. And we saw the previous administration try to usurp the authority that only Congress and the White House have in passing immigration laws. They tried to do it by executive action and the courts struck that down. So I do think this is an important opportunity for those of us who care not only about the people and about our legal immigration system that’s benefited us all but also are determined to eliminate and stop illegal immigration along with the drugs and the harm that that causes,” Cornyn said.
“And I do think this is a great opportunity,” the Senator continued. “I hope we make the most of it, coming from a border state, 1,200 miles of common border with Mexico, my constituents in Texas all understand the importance of border security and enforcement. At the same time, they are people with big hearts and like you, and like the rest of us, want to do the right thing by these adults who came here as children, and I think we have a ripe opportunity.”
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