White House counselor Kellyanne Conway contended Tuesday that congressional Democrats have a simple choice to make as the nation faces a funding deadline at the end of the month: “Do they want to keep the government open or the borders open?”
On Fox News Channel’s “America’s Newsroom,” Conway made the administration’s case for the need to build a border wall ahead of a meeting between President Donald Trump, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, which took place at the White House later in the day.
“Look, the House bill with the $5 billion is more in line with what the president has asked for,” Conway said. “It’s not just a wall. It’s not just a physical wall. It’s a wall plus.”
Conway argued that walls work.
“We know in El Paso, El Centro, Yuma, for example. San Diego certainly. When walls were built, you did see a decrease in the number of illegal aliens coming over across those walls,” she said.
— America's Newsroom (@AmericaNewsroom) December 11, 2018
NPR reported in 2006 that Border Patrol agents were overwhelmed before border fencing was erected.
“It was an area that was out of control,” Border Patrol agent Jim Henry told NPR. “There were over 100,000 aliens crossing through this area a year.”
After putting in double and in some places triple fencing, apprehensions in his sector dropped 95 percent, from 100,000 to 5,000 a year, he said.
Conway stated that Trump has made a “huge priority” of his administration stopping the flow of illegal drugs over the border.
“It is literally poisoning and killing 72,000 Americans a year, and so much of that flows through the southern border,” the White House aide said. “It is not just about the people but the poison coming into our communities.”
“Under this president’s leadership, the apprehensions of gang members, the seizures of fentanyl and other deadly drugs are way up. His methods are working.”
Specifically addressing the Central American migrant caravan, which began arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border last month, Conway said, “I feel very badly for so many of those migrants who were promised what could not be delivered to them.”
“They were lied to by people who probably took their money and imperiled their safety and security, but this president is willing to work across the aisle with leader Schumer and with, we guess Speaker Pelosi,” she added.
Trump got into a heated debate with Schumer and Pelosi at the Oval Office on Tuesday, as the three along with Vice President Mike Pence met to discuss legislation to fund the portions of the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2019. Funding for certain agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, is due to end on Dec. 21.
Pelosi argued that Trump does not have the votes in the GOP controlled-House to get the $5 billion wall funding he wants.
The president countered that he does, but needs at least 10 Democratic senators to agree to it, so the proposal can overcome a likely filibuster in the closely divided Senate.
Trump pledged that unless an agreement can be reached, he will shut down the government.
Trump: “I am proud to shut down the government for border security … I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it” pic.twitter.com/o4xmLRMOTH
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) December 11, 2018
“I am proud to shut down the government for border security,” he said, adding, “because the people of this country don’t want criminals, people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country. And so … I will take the mantle of shutting down the government. I’m going to shut it down for border security.”