A recording of the call is available here.
Immigration experts and advocates gathered on a press call earlier today to respond to President Trump’s excessive and hyperbolic plea for an ineffective, wasteful and unpopular border wall that the American people have largely rejected.
Below are quotes from today’s speakers.
Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice said, “President Trump and his allies have desperately tried to transform a rally chant about a wall that Mexico would pay for into into a policy. They have failed. Instead, they’ve shutdown the government, taken 800,000 workers hostage, and now threaten to declare a national emergency that would create something like a constitutional crisis. After last night’s speech, it’s clear that Trump and the GOP have lost the argument and need to sue for peace. But this President never accepts responsibility or concedes defeat, and his party never checks him or stands up for the American people over their pursuit of power. We hope we’re wrong, but we fear we are right.”
Kerri Talbot, Director of Federal Advocacy, Immigration Hub, said, “Given Trump’s speech didn’t move the needle, more Republicans are now pushing for the government to reopen. Trump is boxed in. The Administration has tacked on even more Stephen Miller policy demands even while his request for the wall is failing. Trump’s policies don’t address the issue of families seeking protection from violence in Central America. Eliminating trafficking protections for children or jailing families for longer periods would just lead to more deaths and suffering. Trump is holding the federal government hostage in pursuit of these extreme policy changes. It’s time to reopen the government.”
Cecilia Muñoz, Former Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said, “The President failed again last evening to make the case that the border is in a state of crisis that calls for a wall. He’s right about one thing: there is a humanitarian crisis at our border, made much worse by the actions of this administration. It’s past time to reopen the government, and engage in serious policy-making that remembers who we are as a nation of immigrants.”
David Bier, Immigration Policy Analyst, Cato Institute for Global Liberty and Prosperity, said, “Border crossings are well below their peaks. To claim there is a crisis is totally divorced from the facts. People are seeking freedom and safety from violent threats in their home countries, they are not criminals or terrorists. The idea that this is a crisis between ports of entry, where a wall would go, is not based on any of the facts. Trump’s policies are worsening the humanitarian crisis. People are not trying to sneak into the country, but Trump continues to deny asylum seekers who are trying to apply at ports of entry. A border wall would only put people in more danger, creating a more devastating crisis. Trump and the administration have the power to fix these situations, but they refuse to do it.”
Juliette Kayyem, Former Assistant Secretary and Faculty Chair Homeland Security Program at Harvard Kennedy School, said, “There is no emergency. There are no facts that would justify an invocation of a “national emergency.” The President has a political problem; the nation does not have an immigration crisis. The challenge we should be addressing is how best to secure our border, support our first responders and promote lawful migration and vital commercial activity. Trump’s insistence on a ‘wall’ has distracted us from what will keep America safe.”