Rep. Jayapal response to Trump address: ‘He created crisis at border’
President Donald Trump’s address to the nation Tuesday evening outlined what he labeled as a humanitarian crisis at the border. Washington Representative Pramila Jayapal disagreed, in a pointed response on Seattle’s Morning News Wednesday morning.
In the president’s address, Trump pointed toward women and children as the “biggest victims by far of our system,” citing a “cycle of human suffering” that he is “determined to end.”
For Rep. Jayapal, the crisis here is one of the president’s own making.
“He has created the humanitarian crisis at the border,” she told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “He created a lot of the suffering with his family separation policy, that rips parents from their children, [and] that puts entire families into immigration prisons.”
President Trump’s argument for a border wall was two-fold — first citing the alleged humanitarian crisis, and second the need for increased border security to stop the flow of drugs and criminals into the country.
For the latter, Jayapal points to data that says otherwise.
“He also has a national security argument, which is also false — he said that we need this wall to stop drugs from coming in. His own Department of Homeland Security has said that the majority of drugs and interdiction happens at legal points of entry,” she said.
Rep. Jayapal is referring to a 2018 report from the Drug Enforcement Agency, that noted how just “a small percentage of all heroin” seized at the border was not taken at a legal point of entry.
To that end, she argues that funding border guards and the Coast Guard — both of which are currently suffering under the current federal shutdown — should be a priority.
“(The president) should be funding the Coast Guard, [and] he should be funding those officers at the legal points of entry who are currently working without any pay,” she said.
The Coast Guard reported the seizure of 223 metric tons of cocaine in 2017, and just over 200 tons in 2016.
Another Washington state Congressmember weighs in
This comes after comments from Washington Rep. Adam Smith, who argued Tuesday that the White House “has not been honest” concerning border security.
“(Trump) has to tell us what ‘enhanced border security’ means. He wants $5.6 billion. For what? He says for the wall, but we all know the wall is going to cost $20-30 billion. He just sort of wants $5.6 billion for nothing specific,” Smith told KTTH’s Michael Medved.
Moving forward, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to the current federal shutdown.
The president was said to have walked out of a meeting with Democratic Congressional leadership Wednesday, deeming it “a total waste of time” in a Tweet, and doubling down on his all-or-nothing stance on his proposed border wall.
“I don’t know how (the shutdown) is going to end,” noted Smith. “The way it should end is with the president having a discussion about border security.”