01.25.17

Statement Of Senate Appropriations Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy On President Trump’s Executive Order On ‘The Wall’

“Our broken immigration system demands a sensible, comprehensive and carefully crafted solution, not expensive political stunts.  As a candidate Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that Mexico would pay for an enormously costly wall.  Now as President, he plans to have the American taxpayers to pay for it.  Billions upon billions of wasted tax dollars.  A troubling pattern is quickly emerging, with the fuzzy talk about killing the Affordable Care Act, and now with ‘the wall.’  It’s jump first, and make real plans later, if ever.  That’s not how we should treat American taxpayers.

“This would be a costly and ineffective proxy for real action to fix immigration problems.  If President Trump asks Congress to approve taxpayer dollars to build a wall, we would need to determine if these taxpayer dollars would be better spent on investing in NIH to find cures for cancer and other diseases, spending on hospitals and doctors to care for our veterans, helping communities with clean water investments, supporting police in our communities through the COPS program, or protecting crime victims through such programs as the Violence Against Women Act.

“Denying critical funding, including public safety resources, to communities that President Trump describes as ‘sanctuary jurisdictions’ will only make our communities less safe.  It will deny local police chiefs and sheriffs the ability to determine how best to serve their own communities, and it will undermine the trust and cooperation between police officers and immigrant communities.
“These latest immigration announcements, without pursuing broader reforms, will only serve to tear apart families and drive people deeper into the shadows.

If President Trump is serious about securing our borders and modernizing our immigration system, I would suggest he look to the bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reforms passed by the Senate in 2013.  The problems plaguing our immigration system are complex, demanding responsible and comprehensive reforms.  We can do better.  We must do better.  And the American people deserve better.”

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