tv U.S. Senate Sen. Cornyn on National Emergency Declaration CSPAN March 5, 2019 9:52am-9:59am EST
minutes on c-span, c-span.org or listen live with the free c-span radio app and finally, later today, the house rules committee will be meeting to discuss hr-1, the house democrats bill addressing ethics rules and elections. live coverage at 5 p.m. eastern on c-span 3. and as we said, the senate is about to gavel in at 10:00 eastern this morning, while we wait for that, some floor comments from texas republican john cornyn about the president's emergency declaration from yesterday. >> mr. president, despite what you hear inside the beltway, the challenges along our southwestern border are real. and the people of texas feel that impact every day along the 1200 miles common border that we have with mexico. last week, for example, the border patrol and the rio grande valley sector arrested 1300 immigrants in a single day.
the second time in two weeks they exceeded that number. at the same time period, the laredo port of entry, seized cocaine and marijuana and sadly, a father and son travelling from guatemala nearly drown while attempting to cross the rio grande and they were saved thanks to the border patrol. in eagle pass, 90 undocumented immigrants many of whom were women and children between the ages of one and 17 were apprehended after crossing the rio grande river, that was all in texas last week. last year alone, 400,000 people were detained coming across our southwestern border. 400,000. tens of thousands unaccompanied children and family units were
detained as well. these stories have become so common, somehow, we've become an anesthetized of the coming across the border. i don't understand why our democratic friends have become completely apathetic when it comes to border security or what president obama himself calls a humanitarian crisis. a few weeks ago now, we know president trump declared a national emergency over this crisis which would allow some funding to be shifted from other areas to support our border security missions. this decision was with met-- met with a great deal of pushback, some of which i believe is warranted and some of which i believe is net. and i'd like to explain what i think is warranted and what i think is not. for those like some of our colleagues across the capital, including some of the texas
democratic congressional delegation, they call this a fake emergency. i couldn't disagree more. just ask the folks who live along the border and deal with this each day. the scenes i just described aren't isolated incidents, they are happening daily, weekly, monthly, and at a scale and at a volume that frankly are overwhelming the ability of officials and people along the border to deal with. let's just rewind and 2014, i alluded to this a moment ago. when president obama was president, we saw an unprecedented number of central americans coming across the border claiming asylum. that year, 68,000 family units were apprehended at the southern border. family units, meaning at least one adult, and at least one child, that's what president obama called a humanitarian crisis. today, not much has changed
except for the numbers and it's gotten worse, not better. in the last four months alone. there have been nearly 100,000 family units apprehended at the border. these are people arriving en masse of thousands, sometimes called a caravan. we know there are dangerous drugs that come in at the same time every day, young women and children being trafficked into sex slavery and migrants being abandoned by coyotes and left to die in the desert. so, i don't see a whole lot of difference between what president obama called a humanitarian crisis in 2014 and what president trump in 2019 calls an emergency. and while i agree there's a crisis at our border and more needs to be done, i have been consistent about my concerns with the means by which this funding is being provided.
this whole episode is completely contrived by the fact that the speaker of the house, miss pelosi, despite the fact we had bipartisan support for the secured fence act in 2006 and 2008, she all of a sudden decided her because the politics suited her that building any additional barrier was immoral. the democratic leader in this senate said not $1 was going to be spent for physical barriers along the border, and we saw an impasse that resulted in the federal government or at least 25% of the government being shut down for 35 days. this was completely unnecessary and contrived. this was all about politics and certainly not about trying to find solutions to the problem. i've said before and i'll say it again that where we are now is not anybody's first choice,
certainly not mine. we know that many legitimate concerns have been raised about the clear definitions of the role of the legislative and executive branch. and it's clear under the separation of powers that congress holds the checkbook no matter who the president is or what they want funding for, it must be authorized by congress. but when democrats refuse to engage in a problem solving process, as they have done over the last few months, it makes things much more complicated. we heard the speaker of the house, as i've said, refuse to provide more than $1 for border security. the minority leader has said no additional money would be provided for barriers. well, with reason, they made these statements isn't because democrats are all of a sudden opposed to improved border security, as we've seen in the past, democrats have supported those physical barriers.
in 2006, the democratic leader himself and a number of our current colleagues and then colleagues like hillary clinton and barack obama, supported the secure fence act. but today, somehow, things are different. democrats refuse to come to the negotiating table, not because they're against border security presumably, but because their base, their political base dislikes demand sitting behind the resolute desk. that's right, this is not about the facts or the problems presented, this is about whether president trump will be defeated in his attempts to get additional money for border security. and as the president found out-- >> senator cornyn from credit in the senate he'll be joining his colleagues shortly as the senate is about to gooavel in.