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Mr. BARR. Mr. Speaker, during a meeting in the White House, our newly elected Speaker of the House interrupted Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who was reciting statistics relating to the border.
``I reject your facts,'' Ms. Pelosi said.
Well, here are the facts:
Fact: Last year, 17,000 people with prior criminal convictions were stopped trying to cross our southern border.
Fact: The recent 8,000-plus caravan that attempted to breach our southern border contained over 600 confirmed criminal migrants.
Fact: Approximately 90 percent of the heroin seized by Customs and Border Protection is interdicted along the southwest border of the United States at and between the ports of entry, and Mexico continues to be the primary supplier of heroin to the United States.
Fact: The Department of Homeland Security reports a 73 percent surge in the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl interdicted at the southern border over the last 2 years.
Fact: Over 72,000 Americans died of an opioid overdose last year.
Fact: In my home State of Kentucky, we suffer from the fifth highest opioid overdose rate in America.
Fact: The administration's request to Congress is not funding for a sea-to-sea concrete wall, as some falsely claim. It is a commonsense request for a sophisticated border wall system, including strategically placed 30- foot steel barriers, technology, lights, cameras, sensors, and other infrastructure.
Fact: Currently, there are 700 miles of physical barriers on our southern border, a measure 90 Democrats, including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, and Chuck Schumer supported in 2006.
Speaker Pelosi, it is interesting you claim walls are ``immoral,'' when many of the leading voices in your party have a previous record of supporting physical barriers on our southern border. Do you consider them immoral?
Fact: Border walls work. The Department of Homeland Security reports that, where a wall was built, illegal crossings have dropped by 90 percent or more. For example, apprehensions of illegal aliens crossing the border in El Paso, Texas, dropped 72 percent in 1 year and 95 percent over 22 years. And veteran Chief Border Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez, a Hispanic American, not a political appointee, a career professional with the Border Patrol agency, has said that the newly constructed border wall in her El Centro Sector of California has already reduced illegal border crossings.
Speaker Pelosi, you are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts. I certainly agree with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who say we must end this government shutdown and pay our Federal employees. It is wrong that these workers are missing paychecks, especially essential government workers who are required to work.
After all, many of these people are corrections officers, air traffic controllers, Federal court personnel, and Border Patrol agents. These are the very people who are charged with the responsibility of keeping the American people safe. That is why I cosponsor the No Work Without Pay Act, which would require us to pay these essential Federal workers during the pendency of a shutdown.
But as important as it is that we timely fund these patriotic Americans' paychecks, it is equally important, and perhaps more important, that we fund their mission. So by all means, we must end this government shutdown, but that objective won't happen when the Speaker of the House refuses to accept basic, irrefutable facts. It won't happen until both parties sit down and offer a proposal, and a compromise, and a counterproposal, something that the Speaker of the House refuses to do.
So my other friends on the other side of the aisle, many of them who I know are equally committed to protecting the American people, to Speaker Pelosi, and Senator Schumer: Stop the partisan games. Do your job. Protect the American people from drugs and criminals. End this shutdown, and fund commonsense border security.
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