US President Donald Trump claimed that “the federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security.” It’s not true that Democrats oppose funding for border security, they just aren’t willing to meet Trump’s demand for more than $5 billion in wall funding. Congressional Democratic leaders have offered funding for roughly $1.3 billion for border security in the current shutdown fight.
Border security has been a cornerstone of Democratic immigration proposals for years. The Obama-backed comprehensive immigration bill in 2013, which passed with unanimous Democratic support, would have added up to 40,000 Border Patrol agents and deploy more than $3 billion for technology upgrades at the border. House Republicans refused to vote on the proposal and it never reached Obama’s desk.
House Democrats voted last week to approve a stop-gap funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security that would not allocate new wall funding, but would maintain the current $1.3 billion in border security money.
Last year, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced a DHS funding bill for fiscal year 2019 on a bipartisan basis that would allocate $1.6 billion for roughly 65 miles of fencing in the Rio Grande Valley, but the full Senate has not yet approved that measure.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in her response to President Trump’s speech, said the President has chosen to use misinformation and “even malice” to get his message across during the shutdown.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer echoed that sentiment. “Most presidents have used Oval Office addresses for noble purposes. This President just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his Administration,” he said.
“Throughout this debate and his presidency — President Trump has appealed to fear, not facts. Division, not unity.”
Trump wrongly claims Democrats requested a steel barrier on the southern border
President Trump claimed tonight that, “At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall.” Despite Trump’s claim, Democrats did not request a steel barrier on the US-Mexico border.
Democrats have long been strenuously opposed to Trump’s campaign promise that he would build a concrete wall on the US-Mexico border. But they did not propose a steel barrier as an alternative.
Rather, Democrats have continued to oppose the construction of any new steel or concrete barrier on the Southern border. They have only kept the door open to funding a border barrier as part of a broader immigration deal.
Trump misleadingly claims drugs will kill more Americans than Vietnam
President Trump claimed “more Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War.” Some 58,220 Americans died as a result of the Vietnam War. In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of total drug overdose deaths was 70,327.
Trump’s assertion is misleading: He is conflating the drugs coming across the US-Mexico border with total drug deaths in the US. In addition, it’s not currently known whether overdose deaths will increase or decrease when the CDC releases 2018 data later this year.
Trump’s figures do not distinguish between deaths caused by drugs smuggled into the country versus those prescribed by US doctors.
The majority of hard narcotics seized by Customs and Border Protection come through ports of entry either in packages, cargo or with people who attempt to enter the US legally. The only drug that is smuggled in higher numbers between legal entry points is marijuana, according to information from Customs and Border Protection and the Drug Enforcement Administration.