Carper Statement on President Trump’s Photo-Op at the Border

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), a senior member on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), released the following statement regarding President Trump’s trip to the southern border. Senator Carper also highlighted the real facts about border security and the effective measures that should be taken to keep our border safe.

“Today, on the twentieth day of his government shut down, President Trump headed to our southern border with Mexico to continue pushing a manufactured and false narrative about the need for a 2,000-mile border wall. As the former Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), I’ve had the privilege to visit the same border numerous times. I have traveled with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretaries and policy experts. I’ve talked to the men and women working in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) who are on the frontlines every day. Never do I recall hearing them prioritize a 2,000-mile long wall. If President Trump is going to visit the border, he has a responsibility to tell the American people the truth about what the people who work to secure our border every day actually need.

“More importantly, if the President wants to talk about a humanitarian crisis, he should travel beyond our border with Mexico, to the Northern Triangle countries of Central America today rather than doing a photo-op at the border. I would urge President Trump to spend time in countries like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to see for himself the conditions in these Northern Triangle countries that are driving migrants to our border. I have seen firsthand how the violence and lack of security, economic opportunity and hope for the future there has led so many to flee for their lives. Until the President addresses the root causes of migration, no barrier is going to keep those living in constant fear from seeking safe haven.

“Shamefully, this administration has focused on fourth century ‘solutions’ to block migrants from entering our country, rather than helping them address the misery in their homelands – misery we’ve helped create and are complicit in. If President Trump wants to get serious about solving this problem, then we need long-term and comprehensive solutions. The good news is that we already know what works: we need to seriously address the root causes of migration from Central American countries, not merely the symptoms at our border. Only once we address the underlying conditions in these countries – the violence, the corruption and the lack of economic opportunity – will we see fewer migrants arrive at our border in search of safety. We also know that improving security conditions and creating economic opportunities for families is a good investment. We saw it work in Colombia with Plan Colombia. We’ve also seen more Mexicans leaving the United States to return to their home country in recent years due to an improved economy and greater opportunities in Mexico. Unlike a coast-to-coast wall, investments to enhance security and improve economic opportunities have proven effective.

“If the President was actually serious about border security, he would fully fund the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle and help reduce corruption and bolster opportunities in those countries. He wouldn’t force the men and women of the Coast Guard and TSA to continue working not knowing if or when they will be paid. He wouldn’t willingly shut down and keep closed the Department of Homeland Security – the very agency charged with securing our nation’s borders. He would listen to the border patrol agents asking us to invest in smart technologies to keep our border safe. If the President and Senate Republicans want to have a factual debate about border security and discuss real policy solutions, then let’s have it. I would welcome it. But photo-ops and threatening to keep the government of the United States closed for months, or even years, and holding American workers’ pay hostage in the meantime just to get your way is absolutely unacceptable.”