Sessions: Border Crossings Already Down 70 Percent
Attorney general touts tremendous administration progress reducing immigration lawlessness
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the flow of illegal immigrants across U.S. borders has “been reduced as much as 70 percent” in just under the first 100 days of President Donald Trump’s administration, during a Monday interview on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.”
Sessions noted the progress has not happened in a vacuum and pointed to new initiatives from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security designed to clamp down on lawlessness on the border.
“What I understand is that the Democrats are fighting a desperate rear-guard effort to stop this barrier and stop the ending of illegality at the border.”
“It’s already been reduced as much as 70 percent, this illegality, and we’re going to get it to zero and keep it there, and we’ll be proud of the new system that we have,” Sessions said.
“I’ve made trips to Texas, Arizona, and California in the last two weeks. I’ve seen the border. We have millions of people crossing the border illegally constantly on a regular basis,” Sessions added. “That’s not going to end. We’re not going to make it impossible for people to travel between our countries, but we’re going to end this illegality. We’re not going to stop until we get it done.”
Sessions said Trump and his administration have “already changed the whole mentality at the border” by overseeing “the lowest month of illegal entries in 17 years.”
The attorney general further said he is “amazed that we are seeing some of the resistance that we are,” in Congress, to including a down payment on Trump’s proposed border wall in a must-pass budget bill this week.
Capitol Hill is grappling with the possibility of a government shutdown Friday if lawmakers cannot pass a continuing resolution to continue funding the government. Democrats have threatened to shut the government down if Republicans meet Trump’s demand to include a $1 billion downpayment on the wall in the budget bill.
“What I understand is that the Democrats are fighting a desperate rear-guard effort to stop this barrier and stop the ending of illegality at the border,” Sessions said. “This is the closest we’ll ever get to getting it done. So we need to make sure we get to the finish line.”
If the government shuts down Friday, the attorney general insisted the Democrats will bear sole responsibility.
“We’ll have a bill moving forward with some money in there for the wall. And it’ll be up to Congress to pass it,” Sessions said. “And if the Democrats filibuster that and block it, they’re the ones shutting the whole government down just to keep the wall from being built, no doubt about it.”
Sessions accused congressional Democrats of ignoring the will of the American people and compromising national security interests.
“What we need to do is remind Congress and the American people that this President promised this. They voted for it in large numbers. It was one of the great strengths in his campaign,” Sessions said. “The American people have asked for it for 30 years. It’s time for the politicians to deliver once and for all, and we can do it.”
If Congress can agree to fund the border wall initially, Sessions said the country collectively would “save billions by ending this illegality.” The attorney general also noted that there are “a host of ways” the U.S. can utilize to pay for the wall.
“It can be done through people who come to our country through Mexico, fees and costs, and even fixing a tax-abuse situation that I believe would make a lot of the payment toward … fixing it,” Sessions noted. “So there’s no problem with getting this done, and it’s going to save a huge amount of money because we’re going to continue to see this rapid decline in the number of people that are coming into our country illegally.”
The Democrats, however, appear to be uninterested in compromising on anything that would actually solve the real problems facing the country, Sessions said.
“They’ll pass anything as long as it doesn’t work. They’ll talk about fixing the border again and again and again, but when the chips are down, they back off,” Sessions lamented. “Let me tell you, we are this close.”
The attorney general dismissed hyperbolic rhetoric from liberals who label the administration’s immigration policies and border crackdown “racist.”
“That’s just a last gasp from people who are losing this battle politically,” Sessions said. “I urge these cities to re-evaluate why you want to release convicted criminals back into your city and your county when they should be deported by law.”