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Mullin' It Over Column

Mullin It Over: Securing Our Borders and Our Future

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By Congressman Markwayne Mullin, April 25, 2019 | comments

Before President Trump took office, the U.S.’s southern border was only covered by man-made barriers along roughly a third of the border. These 654 miles of physical barriers are primarily located in California, Arizona, and New Mexico – leaving the vast majority of the Texas border wide open. Of the 654 miles of barriers, 300 miles are what is called vehicle fencing, low to the ground and meant for stopping cars, but completely ineffective when it comes to stopping people. The remaining 354 miles are made up of pedestrian fencing, which is designed to specifically prevent people from crossing.

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) reported apprehending more than 361,000 illegal aliens at the southern border in the first six months of Fiscal Year 2019, which is more than a 108 percent increase from the previous year. On March 25, 2019, CBP reported 4,000 apprehensions and encounters – the highest number in a single day for more than a decade. Just days later that record was broken again with 4,117 apprehensions and encounters in one day.

President Trump remains committed to securing our border and saving American lives. Since taking office in 2017, President Trump, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of Defense (DoD) have awarded numerous contracts to replace old, legacy fences and install new physical barriers.

By December 2018, DHS had already completed construction on nearly 40 miles of replacement barriers in high target areas such as El Paso, Texas. DHS also awarded contracts for 82 additional miles of physical barriers in areas like the Rio Grande Valley and Yuma, Arizona. In February 2019, construction began to replace 14 miles of old barriers in San Diego. In April 2019, DoD awarded contracts to replace 46 miles of vehicle barriers with 18- to 30-foot-tall pedestrian fencing in New Mexico and replace 11 miles of vehicle barriers and wire-mesh fencing with pedestrian fencing in Arizona. DHS is currently in the process of awarding contracts to construct an additional 55 miles of new barriers.

Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats have proven time and again that they have no interest in securing our southern border and protecting American citizens. On April 23, 2019, at the request of Pelosi, the House of Representatives’ General Counsel filed a motion asking a federal judge to block President Trump from using DoD funds to build additional border barriers.

With record-breaking numbers of CBP apprehensions and encounters on the southern border, it is time for Pelosi Democrats to stop putting politics before people. Every American life is worth safeguarding and I will continue to stand with President Trump in his continued efforts to build the wall and ensure our borders are secure.

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