Remarks by President Trump at Signing of H.R. 3401
White House Oval Office Washington D.C. July 1 4:54 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. We just finished a signing, a very important signing, of the Taxpayer First Bill, the IRS Taxpayer First, which is a tremendous thing for our citizens, having to do with the IRS. It streamlines, and so many other changes made. So, that was just done and signed, and it's been made into law. So we're all set on that.
And today, I'm signing a bill to deliver $4.6 billion in humanitarian assistance to our southern border. This includes funding for medical care, shelters, and increased housing for minors through the Department of Health and Human Services. And Secretary Azar is here with us and with our Vice President and with some of our great congressmen. We appreciate it. Thank you very much. Thank you.
For many weeks, Democrats were giving us a hard time. But I tell you, it became a bipartisan bill. We were very happy about it. And now, what we want to do is we have to do a bill for border security, and all of this will go away.
I want to thank Mexico because Mexico is doing a lot right now. They have almost 20,000 soldiers between the two borders. They have 6,000 on their southern border by Guatemala. And they have about 16,000 - 15, 16,000 at our southern border. And the numbers are way down for the last week because this just took place over the last few days, over the last week. And it's way down, as you can imagine.
But we have to do a bill on border security. And we can solve the problem entirely at our border. The wall is being built. But unfortunately, we had a very bad case from the Ninth Circuit, as usual. A Ninth Circuit judge - and I say that loud and clear - it's very hard to win at the Ninth Circuit, if not impossible. He ruled against something that, in my opinion, was a terrible error. And it really affected the construction of part of our wall.
And much of it is being build. Most of it is being built. But it had an impact. These were contracts that were out. They were being built and now we're supposed to stop because a judge decided, in his own whim, that he wanted to stop it. So we appealed it, and we're asking for an expedited appeal.
But again, much of the wall is being built. We had it all being built, and the Ninth Circuit, as usual, came through for the other side. And it's an incredible situation we have going. There's something wrong with this. Where something like this can happen, it's not a good situation.
Anyway, we're asking Congress to step forward on border security and help us with border security. If we do that, it's going to be perfect because the Mexicans have done a fantastic job, and I want to thank the President of Mexico. And they've done this over the last week and a half. It started at the other border, and now it's at our border and it's had a very big impact. You'll see the numbers come out. You probably have to wait three or four weeks, but you'll see there's a tremendous difference.
And most importantly, we must eliminate all incentives for smuggling children and for smuggling women. They're smuggling women through borders and the borders that don't have the wall, or the borders where you can't physically have security because it's so many miles. You know, we have 2,000 miles of border.
So they're smuggling in women and they're smuggling in children. And they're using the children, in particular, as pawns, who are getting other people into our country. Because when you're with a child, even if the child is not yours - which in itself is ridiculous - then it's much easier to come across and come into our country because the laws are very bad. Our immigration laws are very bad.
And right now, smugglers coach migrants to travel with minors and to send minors alone to gain easy entry into the United States. Catch-and-release must stop. DHS must have the authority to humanely return minors to be with their families in their home countries. It's, right now, a situation where nobody knows what they're doing because our laws are so bad and it can be changed in - I always say 15 minutes; make it an hour. It's very simple. These changes are very simple. It's changes to the asylum. If we change asylum, we can have 75 percent of it done. The rest has to be done on the loopholes.
Vast migrations out of Central America undermine the future of those countries. And these countries now - they want their children back. They're actually wanting their children back.
As you know, I stopped hundreds of millions of dollars from going to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador because they haven't been doing what they should be doing. Caravans have been forming, but now the caravans are being stopped by Mexico.
And again, we want to thank Mexico, but the caravans that formed are being stopped by Mexico, short of our southern border, and in many cases, before they even get out of Guatemala. But I'm hearing that Guatemala is starting to help us a lot. But we're not paying them all of the money. We used to pay them over $500 million a year. I stopped that money from going to them. Some people think it should be the opposite: We should give them money. I don't think they were doing what they could do, and therefore I stopped it. And at some point, maybe if they do a great job - and the job they're supposed to - we can be talking. But right now, it's disgraceful what's happening.
And Congress and the Democrats have to step forward to provide humane solutions to put child smugglers out of business. You have child smugglers by the hundreds - and, actually, probably by the thousands - and they're becoming very rich because our laws are so bad. And they have to restore the integrity of the United States' asylum system.
Without these changes, more than 1 million immigrants will arrive at the borders this year, many of them lodging frivolous asylum claims. And that's what they do to gain access into the country: they lodge claims on asylum. And they're totally bogus claims.
We apprehend these people. But because of catch-and-release, we have to apprehend them, take their names, sometimes bring them to court. Sometimes they're criminals; oftentimes they have to be released. But they're all coming out of the country because that's what we do.
After July 4th, a lot of people are going to be brought back out. So people that come up may be here for a short while, but they're going to be going - they're going back to their countries. They go back home.
ICE is going to be apprehending them and bringing them back. And we have a very big system for that, and it's been very effective and it will be very effective.
So they may feel - and you may read - that they came across. And because of the ridiculous laws of catch-and-release, which I call not a law; I call it a loophole. You release them, but they go back. They get caught. They come in illegally and they go out legally. Very simple system.
Most border crossers never show up in court. They never come. About 3 percent show up. Nobody even knows why they show up. But only 3 percent show up.
But we are apprehending them, and we bring them out of the country. In some cases, they're criminals and, ideally, we want them to use the other country's criminal justice system because we don't want to load up our prisoners any - our prisons any more than they're already loaded up.
So that's it in a nutshell. It's $4.6 billion. It was bipartisan. It was done in a bipartisan manner. We all got together.
This is a humane solution to a tremendous problem that's caused because we have bad immigration laws, and we can solve that problem very, very quickly if we could get together with the Democrats. The problem is the Democrats actually like this system because it's open borders.
Now, we don't allow it to be open borders because we're apprehending and we're doing a great job. Border Patrol has been incredible. Law enforcement has been incredible. And ICE has been incredible.
But it shouldn't be this way. It shouldn't be this way. We're the only ones in the world that have a system like this. It's absolutely insane, our system of immigration.
And the reason they come up is because our economy is doing so well.
I just got back, as you know, from Japan and from South Korea. Met with many of the countries - the G20. So you had the biggest countries. And it was incredible. Everybody greeted me with congratulations on how well we're doing with our economy. We have the number-one economy in the world. And a lot of that is tax cuts. A lot of it is regulation cuts. And thank you, Kevin, and the group. I will tell you, it's - Patrick, thank you very much. And, Mike, thank you very much. And everybody.
Because of the tax cuts, our economy is the hottest in the world. If we didn't have them - we were paying up - companies were paying the highest tax rates in the world, just about. In many cases, the highest. And now we have them at the low level. Not the lowest, but we have them at the low level, at 21 percent. And because of that, they're coming in. New companies are being formed.
But we have many, many companies that left our country and they're now coming back. Especially the automobile business. We have auto plants being built all over the country. We went decades and no plant was built. No plant was even expanded.
And in leaving Japan, I was with Prime Minister Abe and he was telling me they have many more companies now that are moving to the United States and building plants in Michigan and Ohio, and North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida - different states all over the country. And it's pretty amazing because we didn't have any. I mean, we had no expansions, and now we have a lot of expansion.
So we are signing this now, and it's an honor to sign it. And if we could do border security along with it, or follow it up shortly, everybody would be extremely happy.
(The bill is signed.)
I want to thank Secretary Azar who's doing an incredible job, considering that the decks are really stacked against him. The cards are not good, and yet the job your people are doing is incredible. You know, we're not in the hospital business. We're in the border security business at the border. And all of a sudden, we're forced to be in the hospital business.
And again, they're coming up because they want a piece of what's happening in this country. They want the economy. They want the jobs. They're not coming up, for the most part, for other reasons. They're coming up because they want the jobs.
And we want them, but we want them to come in legally through a process. And we want them to come in based on merit. So the merit is very important.
And there you have your bill. Thank you very much.