[Congressional Record Volume 165, Number 5 (Thursday, January 10, 2019)]
[Page H369]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                         REOPEN THE GOVERNMENT

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Georgia (Mr. Johnson) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday night, there was a 
prime-time television speech from the Oval Office, which appealed to 
fear, prejudice, and anger. The argument was for a border wall by 
stereotyping and demonizing people coming to America seeking asylum, 
safety, and refuge from the violence caused by the war on drugs this 
administration is escalating in Central and South America.
  With provocative anecdotes about violence and fear-mongering 
rhetoric, he used the word ``illegal'' 12 times throughout the entire 
speech, which was undertaken amidst what is shaping up to be the 
longest government shutdown in the Nation's history. Never once did he 
mention the Federal workers who won't receive a paycheck this week--not 
  His purpose was to create a state of anxiety about our national 
security in an effort to convince Republican Members of Congress and 
the American people to stay with him on his narcissistic quest for 
billions of dollars to build his big, beautiful wall that he promised 
Mexico would pay for, but now he is demanding that the American people 
pay for it. That doesn't add up, ladies and gentlemen.
  What is not understood is that we are not a country that cowers or 
bends in dread to a hostage taker. To quote President Truman: ``America 
was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, 
and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.''
  The job at hand for this President right now, and for this Congress, 
is to reopen the government. Then we can all go to work to address 
skyrocketing drug prices and ensure affordable healthcare.
  For the people, we must go to work creating high-wage jobs and fixing 
our Nation's decaying infrastructure. For our children and our 
grandchildren, we must build a greener economy and prioritize 
protecting our planet. These are meaningful and worthy goals. Our job 
is not to waste billions on an ineffective border wall while spreading 
xenophobic lies.
  Numerous disingenuous statistics were used the other night to back up 
his claims of a crisis. Here are some statistics, based on facts, to 
clarify the falsehoods perpetuated on the American people in that Oval 
Office speech:
  One, the truth is that immigration from the southern border has 
significantly decreased in the last 10 years, disproving what was said. 
This gentleman wants us to think that this Nation is being overrun. In 
2006, there were more than 1 million unauthorized immigrants 
apprehended at the southern border, but, in 2018, there were less than 
  Two, immigration does not strain our economy and public resources. In 
fact, immigrants added an estimated $2 trillion to the United States 
GDP in 2016. Additionally, unauthorized immigrants contributed 
significantly to Medicare and Social Security. From 2000 to 2011, they 
contributed $35.1 billion more to Medicare than they withdrew.
  Finally, of the 361,993 unauthorized immigrants apprehended by 
September of fiscal year 2018, less than 1 percent had a violent 
criminal record. Studies have also proven that immigrants do not 
increase local crime rates, and they are less likely to cause crime or 
be incarcerated as our citizens.
  President Trump's border wall concept was not created by law 
enforcement specialists, and his justification for wasting taxpayer 
money on a wall is not based on sound argument. This idea began where 
most of the President's ideas are born, and that is on the campaign 
trail. It is an idea unworthy of consideration from Congress. Our 
constituents and our country deserve better.
  Trump has built his political career by demonizing and stereotyping 
many different groups of people. His speech Tuesday night was no 
  We, as Americans, cannot fall prey to his fear-mongering, and we 
cannot allow President Trump to hold Federal workers hostage. Let's go 
to work and reopen this government now.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Members are reminded to refrain from 
engaging in personalities toward the President.