WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s homeland security executive orders signed Wednesday.
“President Trump would be wise to listen to his own cabinet, including Homeland Security Secretary Kelly who, when asked at his confirmation hearing about his wall said that it ‘will not do the job.’ The President is launching an effort to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on a costly border wall that will do little to enhance U.S. national security and is opposed by a strong majority of Americans. I understand the desire to follow up on campaign rhetoric, but candidate Trump was wrong about building a wall on our border with Mexico, and so is President Trump.
“The president’s executive orders on immigration that were announced today also will do more to harm national security and public safety than help. President Trump is fracturing longstanding bipartisan consensus that comprehensive immigration reform and efforts to improve border security must go hand in hand. Turning away legitimate asylum seekers at the border, and requiring mandatory detention of families and children, will do nothing to make America safer. Such cruel actions will inevitably bring harm and potentially death to survivors of violence and torture, including many women and children, while undermining America’s values and damaging our relationships with our allies.
“Enlisting local police to carry out federal immigration law enforcement and raids to deport long-time residents, instead of focusing on violent criminals and repeat offenders, will further strain the relationship between our police and local communities. These actions will invite widespread and harmful racial and discriminatory profiling. Arbitrarily cutting off federal funds to state and local law enforcement agencies will make our communities less safe.
“I am not alone in believing that Congress should once again take up and pass bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform. The Senate passed such legislation by a vote of 68 to 32 in 2013. This measure would strengthen border security, create a tough but fair path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the United States, and establish an improved process for future legal immigration.”
Recent Washington Post-ABC News and Politico-Harvard University polls show that three-fifths of Americans oppose building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.