President Donald Trump has asked for $5 billion in border wall funding, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said Monday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” that he would like to see Congress step up and “see us get there” as swiftly as possible given the caravan crisis at the border.
Thousands of migrants from Central America — most of whom are young, single men — have crossed into Mexico with the intention of crossing the border into the U.S.
Approximately 6,000 U.S. troops have been helping to bolster border security efforts in anticipation of the migrants’ arrival — and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said last Wednesday that Trump had given him the authority to use lethal force, if necessary, to guard the safety and well-being of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel.
The CBP also revealed that some migrants “attempted to illegally enter the U.S.” over the weekend, noting that “those persons were stopped and turned back to Mexico.”
Some migrants also threw what appeared to be rocks at officials.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (pictured above left) warned in a statement Sunday that the “DHS will not tolerate this type of lawlessness and will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry for security and public safety reasons.”
“We will also seek to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who destroys federal property, endangers our frontline operators, or violates our nation’s sovereignty,” Nielsen added.
But the GOP-led Congress has failed to pass the sweeping immigration reform or fully fund Trump’s signature border wall during the first two years of his presidency. And now that Democrats will reclaim the House majority in January, the chances for complete border wall funding will be nonexistent unless Republicans act before January.
“With 12 legislative days left until they lose power in the House and only 15 in the Senate, Republicans must unite and make passing Trump’s immigration enforcement agenda a priority — working through Christmas and shutting down the government, yes, if that’s necessary,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham said.
“But I am telling you, if the Republicans duck it once again, they shouldn’t expect to be back in charge anytime soon,” she also warned.
Scalise noted that the GOP-led House has “tried” to pass bills that would “solve the interior loophole problems that you’ve cited so many times, as well as funding the wall.”
But Ingraham blasted retiring Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), saying neither of them “really wanted to” fund the wall.
“We were able to get a billion-and-a-half dollars of new funding for [the] border wall in this year’s budget. Obviously we want more,” Scalise admitted. “The president’s asked for $5 billion. I’d like to see us get there. We’ve had a number of bills to try to solve that problem.”
Trump took to Twitter last week to call for full border wall funding, writing, “Republicans and Democrats MUST come together, finally, with a major Border Security package, which will include funding for the Wall. After 40 years of talk, it is finally time for action. Fix the Border, for once and for all, NOW!”
Republicans and Democrats MUST come together, finally, with a major Border Security package, which will include funding for the Wall. After 40 years of talk, it is finally time for action. Fix the Border, for once and for all, NOW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 23, 2018
The president repeated his call on Monday, tweeting, “Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries.”
“Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A. We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!” he added.
Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries. Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A. We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 26, 2018
When asked if the government will or should shut down over border wall funding, Scalise replied, “This is going to be one more battle that we’re going to have, and it’s going to happen in the next few weeks here.”
“President Trump was very clear in saying, ‘There is a legal way to come to America to seek asylum, and there’s an illegal way. We’re not going to just let you storm the border and climb a fence. Go to a port of entry and state your case. Make your claim. That’s the way to do it.'”
Former U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting Director Thomas Homan — also a guest on the program Monday night — praised “some great Republican congressmen” who tried to “take the bull by the horns” and bring about sweeping immigration reform and secure border wall funding.
But their efforts were not enough.
“I don’t care if you’re a Republican, Democrat — there is no downside in securing the border. None,” Homan insisted.
Check out the discussion on the segment below: