Utah’s members of Congress are reacting to President Donald Trump’s Tuesday night speech about what he called an urgent crisis on the nation’s southern border.
The federal government has been partially shut down since December 22. President Trump is refusing to sign any funding measure to re-open the government that does not include more than $5 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. In his speech, President Trump called the wall a “physical barrier.” Experts say there is no crisis at the border, and a wall would be ineffective in stopping illegal immigration and would cost much more than the $5.7 billion Trump is asking for.
A recent UtahPolicy.com survey found 58% of Utahns oppose building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border if American taxpayers have to pay for it.
Sen. Mike Lee said in a statement the funding Trump is asking for is needed to secure the border.
“We have a crisis on our southern border. Our law enforcement personnel are being overrun. We need more border patrol agents, more emergency medical technicians, more immigration judges, and yes, more wall,” Sen. Lee said. “Walls work. Let’s come together, give the Department of Homeland Security the money they need to address this crisis and end the shutdown.”
Rep. John Curtis said the issue should not be a partisan one.
“Republicans and Democrats need to come together and find an end to this government shutdown in a way that provides the resources needed at the border,” Curtis said. “In addition to infrastructure, this should contain more immigration judges, law enforcement personnel, technology and money to address the humanitarian needs. This includes funding for enhanced medical support and facilities for vulnerable populations. I believe if we are willing to put political agendas aside we can ensure that our border patrol agencies have the manpower and resources they need while also protecting the dignity of migrants.”
Rep. Rob Bishop blamed Democrats in the Senate for the budget impasse.
"This shutdown impasse is entirely due to the misuse of the Senate filibuster. It’s not complicated, America should have secure borders. This is something Democrats have supported for years, until recently. Now they insist on playing political games over 1/10th of 1% of government spending. Let’s end this impasse, secure our border, and reopen the government."
Rep. Chris Stewart reacted via Twitter, saying President Trump made a compelling case.
President Trump made a compelling case tonight. The two Democrat leaders (like many other Dems) voted in the past for physical barriers and border security under previous presidents. Who is really playing politics here? It's time to fix this! Lets get it done!— Rep. Chris Stewart (@RepChrisStewart) January 9, 2019
Rep. Ben McAdams, Utah’s lone Democrat in Congress, urged both Republicans and Democrats to come together to end the government shutdown.
“Utahns expect us to work together, find common ground and move forward with solutions. We have important issues to address that will be debated over the coming months but we should have those debates after we’ve done our basic job of resuming government operations. Both parties and President Trump need to work together to end the partial government shutdown. This impasse is unproductive, unnecessary and harms our ability to resolve serious issues such as reforming our broken immigration system and lowering health care costs.”
The government shutdown is currently the second-longest in history.