June 24, 2020

President Trump is Right: We Must Address Border Security


Click here or the image above to view Senator Young’s speech.


WASHINGTON – Following President Trump’s visit to Yuma, Arizona, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) spoke on the Senate floor today urging his colleagues to work together with the President to address border security. 


As a U.S. Marine, Senator Young was stationed just outside the U.S.-Mexico border near Yuma in a dangerous area with heavy narcotics and human trafficking. Senator Young spoke about what he saw during that time, and the enduring need to address the humanitarian crisis and national security threat along the border.


“Border security and the safety of Americans has long been, and should remain, a priority of all Republicans and Democrats who serve at the federal level of government,” Senator Young said. “It’s time for Democrats to partner with Senate Republicans, and with President Trump, to secure the border and put Americans first.”


Click HERE to view Senator Young’s speech. 


Senator Young’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below.


There’s been a lot of talk on this floor about border security in recent years. It’s amazing how much of what is said resembles what was said a quarter-century ago.


I’m equally amazed by how much the politics of border security has changed.


Earlier this week, President Trump visited Yuma, Arizona to highlight the continued need for border security. As someone who has first-hand experience with border security, I thought I’d say a few words, too.


As a U.S. Marine in the nineties, I spent months in a desolate forbidding stretch of desert just outside of our border near Yuma.


My Marines and I were part of an unmanned aerial vehicle unit that worked with Border Patrol agents who were charged with patrolling the border in the Yuma sector – a dangerous area – with heavy narcotics and human trafficking.  


While there, I saw the need for greater border security. 


Uniquely, among our military services, Marines are charged with tackling whatever mission – however daunting – the President requests of us.


In fact, in 1834 Congress passed – and the President signed – a law charging Marines with “such other duties as the President or Department of Defense may direct.”


When in doubt, send in the Marines.


Our unit’s mission was to make the border more secure – a critical mission which remained a priority under Presidents Clinton and Bush.


A physical barrier was placed in the area years after I left active duty – and trafficking decreased by 95 percent over the next decade.


We know walls work when properly and intelligently placed.


Historically, there has been bipartisan consensus around the idea that we not only put boots on the ground to protect the border; but we also must invest in technology to secure our border, including physical barriers where they are required. 


The President was absolutely right years ago. He was right this week in Yuma. He’s right today. He’ll be right tomorrow. We must address the situation taking place along our southern border – where illegal crossings and smugglers trafficking drugs and people have created a humanitarian crisis and national security vulnerability. 


According to the UN’s Missing Migrants Project, more than 2,400 migrants have died near the United States-Mexico border since 2014. This includes 497 deaths in 2019 – a 26 percent increase from the year prior. This is a true humanitarian crisis. 


This is also a national security threat. In addition to migrants fleeing Central America, it is possible that foreign terrorist organizations could cross an unsecure foreign border as well.


Border security and the safety of Americans has long been, and should remain, a priority of all Republicans and Democrats who serve at the federal level of government.


President Trump is not the first President to understand this.


When I was serving in Arizona as a Marine, President Clinton was our commander in chief.


During a 1993 press conference, President Clinton touted increasing the number of Border Patrol agents and working to supply them with the best possible equipment and technology. He repeated this message on multiple occasions.


During his 1995 State of the Union Address, President Clinton said: “Our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards…” 


President Clinton was not the last Democrat to prioritize border security – President Obama, too, understood its importance.


Under the Obama administration, a surge of additional Border Patrol agents and resources were provided to secure the southwest border and prevent illegal crossings.


President Obama was often called the “deporter in chief” during his presidency – and roughly three million people were deported under the Obama administration.


Again, border security should not be a partisan issue. Historically, both sides of the aisle have agreed that the humanitarian and security issue at our southern border must be addressed. 


It’s time for Democrats to partner with Senate Republicans, and with President Trump, to secure the border and put Americans first.


If we resolve to work together on a sensible solution to this crisis, the result will be: safer border towns, more jobs for American workers, fewer strains on limited government resources, and a deterrent to foreign nationals coming to America illegally, often at great risk to themselves.


The Senate cannot lose its nerve when it comes to the rule of law and addressing border security. This is one area where we cannot just “send in the Marines.”


We own this – This body must work with our President to keep America safe and secure.