President Donald Trump invited the largest union of border patrol agents to speak on Thursday on the topic of how a wall could help their mission to secure the border.
Trump is in a heated standoff with Democratic leaders right now over his push to get $5 billion for a border wall.
The inability thus far to reach a compromise led to a partial government shutdown on December 22.
The National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) made the case that border walls do indeed help prevent illegal immigration in this country.
“I have been a border patrol agent for 21 years,” NBPC President Brandon Judd (shown above left) told reporters at the White House.
“I can personally tell you from the work I have done on the southwest border that physical barriers — that walls — actually work. You hear a lot of talk that there are experts who say that walls don’t work. I promise you that if you interview border patrol agents, they will tell you that walls work.”
Trump and congressional leaders seemed to make little progress after meeting to resolve the shutdown on Wednesday. The newly elected speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), told reporters afterward that she plans to charge ahead with a package consisting of two bills despite the president’s opposing it.
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The president and lawmakers plan to meet again to continue their discussions on Friday.
“I worked in Naco in Arizona for 10 years,” Judd said. “We didn’t have physical barriers in Naco, and illegal immigration and drug smuggling was absolutely out of control. We built those walls, those physical barriers, and illegal immigration dropped exponentially.”
Despite all of this, Pelosi plans to bring up her package as one of her first acts as new speaker.
The package would fully fund the remaining federal departments in order to reopen the government.
The Department of Homeland Security is the only exception to that, as it oversees immigration; it would instead be funded with a temporary spending bill through February 8.
The package is unlikely to get far, given that the president opposes it — it lacks any money for the border wall.
“Anywhere you look where we have built walls, they have worked,” Judd said. “They have been an absolute necessity for Border Patrol agents in securing the border. We need those physical barriers.”
Trump reaffirmed his commitment to funding the border wall during a Cabinet discussion hours before he met with congressional leaders.
He has since argued again that a wall is a critical piece of border security.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has countered that the wall is not the best solution, given the other technologies available.
“I want everyone to take the time to understand what’s going on,” NBPC President Vice President Art Del Cueto said. “We are all affected by this shutdown. We have skin in the game. However, it comes down to border security. And we are extremely grateful to President Trump and we fully support what he is doing to take care of our nation’s borders and the future of the United States.”
Schumer had previously said he was only willing to provide the $1.6 billion for border security.
But those funds cannot go toward the construction of a border wall. He later reduced that figure to $1.3 billion during an earlier meeting before the shutdown.
The highly contentious meeting quickly ended in an argument.
Congress was able to fund most of the government months earlier but still has seven spending bills remaining.
Lawmakers already had to pass a continuing resolution to fund the federal government for two weeks to avoid a shutdown on December 7.
An earlier spending bill also included a continuing resolution that extended the original deadline on September 30.
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