WASHINGTON, D.C.— Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement on the temporary end of President Trump’s shutdown and the President’s continued border wall demands:
“Finally, after 35 days, the President has agreed to do what he should have done in the first place: open the government. The impacts of the government shutdown on federal workers and communities across the country have been immense.
“This is a manufactured crisis, engineered by President Trump, that has harmed hundreds of thousands of Americans. While not surprising, the tone-deaf remarks recently uttered by this President and senior members of his Administration, particularly Secretary Ross, show just how out of touch with reality they are about the difficult and dangerous position which the shutdown has put families.
“We know the President manufactured this crisis because in his Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request, submitted last February, Trump requested only $ 1.6 billion dollars for a border wall. In fact, the House and Senate gave the President the amount that he requested. However, that all changed when Democrats won the House in November. Now the President is arbitrarily demanding billions of dollars more for his wall and has been holding federal workers hostage over it.
“If the President believes there has been a change in our border security needs that warrants a wall, then he should articulate those reasons to Congress based on facts. Time and again, President Trump has lied and mischaracterized the actual situation to the American people, claiming a ‘crisis’ at the border and that the ‘worst of the worst’ are pouring into the United States. These claims are demonstrably false and made only to justify harmful policies meant to appease his base. If additional border security is so desperately needed, as Trump claims, then why is he proposing a border wall that experts, including Customs and Border Patrol officials, have determined is not an effective border security strategy?
“Even though President Trump has more recently demanded $5.7 billion dollars to fund 235 miles of border wall, it continues to be clear that he doesn’t actually have a solid plan for where it would be built. The Administration has provided no justification for why the arbitrary $5.7 billion is the amount needed now. Furthermore, and more fundamental to the problem, is that no substantial case has been made for why a wall is needed.
“From the beginning, President Trump’s justification for a border wall was not rooted in a need for border security, but in the misguided notion that immigrants are somehow inherent threats to American society. This racist and xenophobic view has been the basis for Trump’s entire immigration agenda and could not be further from the truth.
“Our policy and legislative process does not work by holding the government hostage, and I hope the President has learned that doing so is unproductive and harmful. I continue to believe that spending billions on a border wall with no justification, especially in the wake of the Republican tax giveaway to the wealthy, is deeply irresponsible, especially as we have so many other worthy national priorities, including providing health care, improving education, and fixing crumbling infrastructure.
“I applaud the non-profit organizations, businesses, and community members who have stepped up to help alleviate the pains of the shutdown. My office and I will continue to do whatever we can to ensure workers are given the pay and benefits to which they are entitled and prevent unnecessary future shutdowns.”