Top House Republican backs Trump’s border wall plan, urges Democrats to join them
Top House Republicans have endorsed President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and support the president’s request to allow refugees and immigrants from around the world to enter the country without a visa.
| AP Photo | POLITICO House Republicans back border wall in wake of Trump’s surge article Top Republican leaders have endorsed Trump’s plans to build an wall along a border that has been the source of more than 20,000 deaths and millions of dollars in damage, while Democrats have said they want to ensure that refugees and other immigrants can enter the U., and that the administration should give them a pathway to citizenship.
The plan would cost $1.6 trillion, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R.-Calif., have both said the wall should be built along the border with Mexico.
The White House on Tuesday urged Congress to take up the plan, which has the backing of a broad cross-party group of House and Senate Republicans.
“The president has put forth a plan to secure the border and stop the flow of drugs and human trafficking, which we need to be doing right now, and we need the Congress to help us do that,” Ryan told Fox News on Wednesday.
“That’s why the president put forward this plan and that’s why it is absolutely crucial that we get the support of both sides of the aisle in order to get this done.”
The border wall is not Trump’s only plan for securing the border.
His administration has been trying to hire 100,000 Border Patrol agents to help enforce federal laws and detain people who cross the border illegally.
The administration has also been working to expand enforcement at the southern border, where illegal crossings have soared to a record high of more, 7.7 million in March.
The president on Tuesday signed a memorandum directing the Department of Homeland Security to expedite the hiring of more Border Patrol officers to help with the operation.
But many Democrats have been critical of Trump, who has vowed to crack down on illegal immigration, particularly as Mexico sends thousands of new border agents.
The memo has not been approved by the White House, and DHS spokesman Brian Nesbitt told reporters on Wednesday that the department will make a decision about whether to move forward with the hiring program.
“We are reviewing this memorandum and will make the necessary changes to ensure it is consistent with DHS policy and does not pose a risk to public safety,” he said.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the administration’s actions will put lives at risk.
“I don’t want to say that we should not make any changes in immigration enforcement, but the president is the president of the United States and he is responsible for enforcing the law,” she told reporters.
“We are going to do everything we can to make sure that people who are here are not being abused or being abused by these people, and that is the responsibility of DHS.”
The Democratic leaders’ support for Trump’s push to build the wall comes after a surge in violence along the southwestern border.
A recent poll showed most Americans support Trump’s decision to build his wall.
The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research surveyed 1,000 adults from Sept. 16-20.
The poll found 59 percent of those surveyed said they favor the construction of a wall to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs.
Another 41 percent said they would oppose building the wall.
Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they are opposed to allowing refugees and people from other countries to enter.