Rep. Price Delivers Opening Remarks at FY19 DHS Conference Committee
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 30, 2019) - On Wednesday, January 30, 2019, Congressman David Price (D-N.C.) delivered the following opening remarks at the FY19 Homeland Security Conference Committee. The remarks can be viewed here: https://www.c-span.org/video/?457339-1/house-senate-lawmakers-begin-negotiations-border-security-funding
Remarks as prepared.
"I am here today as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, but also as a former Chair of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee from 2007 – 2010.
During those years, Congress worked together to make bipartisan investments in border security and technology—which included hundreds of miles of pedestrian and vehicular fencing along our nation’s southern border.
As part of that effort, we required the Department to provide segment-by-segment analyses and cost-benefit analyses. We asked, “Is this this proposed barrier the most cost-effective way to secure the border?” and “How much measurable impact do we buy with one kind of investment versus another?”
We also required environmental impact studies and a number of fence relocations to ensure minimal disruption of American communities on the border, including ranchers and other landowners.
So what has changed since those years?
First, conditions on the border have changed. Because of the work we did years ago, we have already built nearly 700 miles of fencing on our nation’s border. Whatever the President may say, it is far from an “open border.”
Meanwhile, the numbers of undocumented migrants crossing our border or attempting to cross remain at historic lows.
We also have a very different type of migrant coming to our country. In 2008, we had an influx of single migrants crossing the border looking for jobs and employment opportunities. Today, we are increasingly dealing with people fleeing humanitarian crises in Central America, and they are proactively seeking out our Border Patrol agents to turn themselves in. A fence is irrelevant to their situation.
Thirdly, there is a different mix of border security needs and available technologies—particularly regarding our ports of entry and Coast Guard operations.
I hope we can explore them thoroughly, understanding that border security is about more than a physical barrier, and homeland security is about more than border security.
We must set out priorities and make difficult tradeoffs because we are operating within budget caps. We must make the difficult choices and do so without “emergency” funding or budgetary gimmicks.
I look forward to working with you all to come up with an agreement that funds smart, effective solutions for border security and for homeland security more broadly and that keeps the government open for business."