President Trump addressed the National Association of Attorneys General winter meeting at the White House Monday, shortly after 16 Attorney Generals sued his administration over his national emergency declaration along the southern border.
“Today, we join together to reaffirm and strengthen the vital partnership among state, local, and federal law enforcement,” Trump said. “Only by working together can we ensure security for every community and deliver justice for every citizen.
Trump added, “Last year, we passed historic legislation to combat the devastating opioid and drug crisis. This legislation expands lifesaving treatment and authorizes funding for local law enforcement to help those badly addicted get the treatment they need. Our State Attorneys General are launching bold initiatives to fight this epidemic. But to defeat this deadly epidemic, America’s southern border must be urgently and very strongly secured. We fight wars 6,000 miles away, we spend billions and billions of dollars, but we don’t control our own border.”
Last month, a coalition of attorney general from 16 states sued the Trump administration over the president’s declaration of national emergency to fund border security. The lawsuit, spearheaded by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, also comes as the Senate appears to have enough Republican votes to rebuke Mr. Trump’s declaration. Calling the White House’s unprecedented move “unlawful and unconstitutional, Becerra said the lawsuit is important to make sure future presidents “must abide by the law” and “no one is above the law in this country.”
The multi-states suing Mr. Trump include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia.
Trump declared a national emergency at the border in February after being dissatisfied with the funding Congress is providing him for barriers at the southern border. Trump signed the emergency declaration to divert $2.5 billion from counternarcotics initiatives and $601 million from a Treasury Department forfeiture fund.
“Drug trafficking and human traffickers exploit our porous border to finance their ruthless operations across our hemisphere,” Trump said. “One in three migrant women is sexually assaulted on the very dangerous journey north. Criminal cartels terrorize innocent people on both sides of the border. Thousands of our citizens are killed by lethal narcotics — 88,000 people, just with certain types of drugs — most of which come through the southern border. Eighty-eight thousand people die and that’s just a small portion of it. Hardworking people of every background pay the price for a lack of border control and security.”
The president went on noting the arrest ICE officers have made on the border that include charges of assault, sex crimes, and murders.
“In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records, including those charged or convicted of approximately 100,000 assaults — and these are new numbers, hard to believe — 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 murders,” Trump said. “Every day, our brave ICE officers are on the front lines protecting our communities. We must always support the heroes of law enforcement, and we all support law enforcement in every way.”
Newly-confirmed Attorney General Bill Barr laid out in stark terms the negative effects of a “porous border,” makes every state open to drugs and human trafficking.
“Having a porous southern border makes every state more vulnerable to these drugs,” Barr said, warning that “the problem with the porous border is not limited to drugs,” and that “it creates opportunities for human trafficking, one of the most heinous criminal acts there is.”
“The DEA has stated publicly that the Mexican trans national criminal organizations are the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States,” Barr declared. “The DEA tells us that the majority of the heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl in this country got here across our southern border.”