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Senator Tester Calls to Talk Border Security

Montana Senator Jon Tester (MT) held a call-in conference on Monday, February 5, directed to addressing the issue of securing the border, issue of illegals crossing the borders, and in turn, help reduce the amount of drugs coming into the U.S., in particular, fentanyl.

Tester opened the session with, “The situation at the southern border right now is unacceptable. We have the fentanyl crisis back in our state; you don’t have to take it from me…you can take it from Montana Sheriff’s or mayors or families; or Border Patrol Agents I have met within the southern borders. Everybody knows that our current system is broken and it is time for Congress to do something about it!”

He continued, “Montanans want action, Congress has the opportunity in front of us now to take that action.”

With the assistance of a bi-partisan group, Senate members of Congress have been hammering out a “common sense” deal to get the borders under control.

“The negotiations have been led by Sen. James Lankford from Oklahoma, Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut. They have worked to produce bipartisan border security legislation. He stated it is not a liberal bill or a conservative bill. It is the product of compromise and tough negotiations, all with the goal of making our country safer.”

Tester said he has visited with colleagues and been going over the bill; he said he believes it is a strong bill that will work toward securing our border.

“No one gets everything they wanted, but that is no reason to oppose it. The bill would: fund much needed manpower and technology to stop folks from crossing the border illegally, so that we can know exactly who is coming into our country. That is important.”

Tester added, “It addresses the fentanyl crisis by giving law enforcement on the ground the tools they need to screen vehicles and stop these deadly drugs from pouring into our communities. That is important.”

Tester shared, “It would change our asylum laws so that we can process claims faster and deal with the surging migrants currently overwhelming the borders…that is important.”

The bill would give the President the authority to shut down the border if daily limits were too high.

The bill would be the most significant action taken by Congress to address the broken immigration laws in literally decades.

It is Tester’s opinion that the ones that oppose the bill are the same ones who have said loudly for years that policy changes are needed to secure the border. He stated that they are using the closing of the borders for political gain, rather than working on solving the problem.

He believes that Congress has a responsibility to act. With Congress controlling the purse, he stated it is up to them to fund what men and women in law enforcement have been asking for.

Whereas, how the three branches of the government work, there is a possibility they will torpedo the bill before it is even debated. Tester’s goal is to get the bill on the floor, get it before the people for a vote; then get the bill passed and into law and secure the border.

His goal, he stated, is to protect Montanans.

Those on the call-in session were then allowed to ask one question of the Senator. The questions varied across the state from the media and press that were listening.

He responded to the statement that 5,000 illegals are being allowed to cross the border daily is false.

He was asked if $16 billion would go for support for Ukraine and $14 billion would go to support Israel? He stated the bill is a part of a larger supplemental (border security) bill that would secure the border and help stop the fentanyl crisis in our state, it’s part of a bigger bill that includes money for Israel (about $14 billion), it includes $20 billion for border security; it includes money for the conflict in the Red Sea. It includes money for the Ukraine. Included is money to fund the northeast to counter China, and money for Gaza and the Ukraine…it is a larger bill, yes.

The Senator said the money to support the Ukraine, for replacing weapon stock. He does not feel Putin is going to stop with the Ukraine, which he feels is a real problem. Most of the money for Ukraine would actually be spent here in the U.S. to replenish stock for our artillery supplies.

“It really, truly is, not only supporting the Ukraine, but making our military stronger.”

He added, “I guess in the end, if there are folks who do not want to support the Ukraine, they can vote against the southern border security and money for Israel and money for the Pacific. But hopefully that isn’t the case. There are many needs out there. This is a dangerous time for this world. We need to get these things funded.”

Tester said, “They are all connected, by the way…Ukraine, Russia, China, Israel, North Korea, Iran, all very much connected…we need to be prudent here and making sure we are holding off our enemies.”

The Phillips County News posed to Tester, “As far as getting technology and assistance up here in the northern part of the state, what are you going to do to as far as getting enough strength to get the courts to continue to enforce the laws and make sure they do something with them when they are caught?

“That’s a great question. What this bill will do is to allow them to be turned away at the border, and if they can’t go through the court system they will be turned away. I think that is really important, some of the people coming here have issues from the country they are coming from, most don’t. So the changing of the language on asylum is critically important and will turn people away in the first place, who shouldn’t be there. That will help the strain on the northern border as well, not to mention the additional manpower will help keep these guys from relocating from the northern border to the southern border.

That’s all important. As a senior member of Congress, I will see that when we pass money for the southern border we fund the northern border as well.”

From the northern most points across Montana to the southern, eastern and western points, the state was well represented at the session.

For questions, the Montana Press Secretary for Senator Tester, Harry Child, can be contacted at 406-740-2081.


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