House Majority Whip Steve Scalise explained on Monday that securing the U.S.-Mexico border has nothing to do with preventing individuals from seeking asylum, but rather about establishing a rule of law in the country.
“What we have is a difference of understanding about what’s happening at the border,” Scalise told journalist Sandra Smith while on Fox News. “The president has been very clear from when he ran for office that he wants to protect America’s border and keep this country safe.”
“Now more than ever, when you see the caravan — I know it’s what [Republican South Carolina Sen.] Lindsey Graham was talking about — you’ve got thousands of people literally saying we’re just going to storm your border and come into the country,” Scalise said. (RELATED: GOP Senators Introduce Bill To Fund The Border Wall In Full)
The Louisiana congressman was seemingly referring to Graham’s assertion that “if you don’t see the need for additional border wall security, you’re just not paying much attention.” Graham urged President Donald Trump on Sunday, in preparation for the president’s meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, not to concede funding for the border wall when he sits down with the duo.
We are a nation of laws—and we need to secure our borders to stay a nation of laws. That’s what’s at stake in this government funding debate. Republicans and President @realDonaldTrump will continue fighting to keep our communities safe. pic.twitter.com/q1eSY73VCm
— Rep. Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) December 10, 2018
“We have at least 600 known convicted criminals as part of this caravan. These aren’t people seeking asylum … they were offered asylum and jobs in Mexico and turned it down,” Scalise said. “So, let’s not talk about asylum. It’s whether or not we’re going to have rule of law in the country.”
“There’s a legal process. There are thousands of people waiting to come into this country the right way,” he continued. “Follow the rules — the president said, if you want to seek asylum, there’s a way to do it. That’s not what this is about. The border funding is going to be the big battle in these next 11 days.”
Trump is meeting with the two Democratic leaders on Tuesday to see if they can agree on a deal to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and various other departments.
“[Trump] wants $5 billion and it’s not just to build the wall, clearly that’s a big part of it, but it’s for all the other technology and supporting things that our border patrol agents need,” Scalise said. “[Some of the people in the migrant caravan] are attacking our border patrol agents … we ought to give them the tools to be safe as they protect our border.”
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