Members of Long Island's congressional delegation agreed the borders need to be secure but split along party lines on President Trump's assertion that problems on the southern border have escalated to crisis levels, requiring funding for a border wall.
"The only crisis at our southern border is the humanitarian one he has created. Any funding for a wall would divert needed resources from healthcare, education and job creation." — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), via Twitter
"Very effective speech detailing the human suffering and dangers from illegal immigration. He made clear that a barrier is only part of his overall plan which is supported by law enforcement experts. I wish he had made this speech before the shutdown. But now that there is a shutdown, it is essential that Democrats come forward and compromise with the president — particularly since every top Democrat supported a barrier in the past." — Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford)
"As the congressman representing one of the largest ports in our nation, JFK airport, I’m increasingly concerned by the growing number of TSA (Transportation Security Administration) agents calling-out or resigning altogether because of the lack of pay . . . This shutdown is political, it is petty, and most importantly it is reckless." — Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans)
"Let’s be clear — there’s no emergency at our southern border, other than the one that President Trump himself manufactured with his disastrous immigration policies. Instead of holding this nation hostage over an ineffective and wasteful border wall, Senate Republicans should support the House’s funding bills and the president should sign them. Every day that they wait, is another day that hardworking Americans have to worry about how to pay their bills, make rent or buy groceries.” — Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City)
"There's no question the country needs border security . . . but he's completely misleading people. Illegal drugs coming into our country are coming through the legal ports of entry, not over the southern border. The crime rate amongst immigrants is far less than the crime rate of U.S. born citizens. It's the typical misleading, reality show crisis-engendering sideshow." — Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove)
"I support increased border security to help stop illegal immigration, transnational gangs, the heroin & opioid abuse crisis & drug/sex/human trafficking. To my Dem colleagues, it’s time to negotiate & compromise. There’s a GREAT deal to be had & it can/must be done quickly!" — Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), via Twitter