(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D.-Texas) took to the House floor on Dec. 12 to explain why, especially in the Christmas season, a shutdown of the federal government should be avoided.
“This is a season where many in our Nation draw together with families and worship and celebrate,” Jackson Lee said.
“It is a very honored time,” she said. “People of the Christian faith are engaged in the recognition and acknowledgment of the birth of baby Jesus. It is a holy time. It is a time when families need resources. Government workers need to ensure that their families are provided for, but also we must ensure that our government is provided for.
“I thank the Speaker-elect and the Democratic leader in the Senate, the other body, for recognizing that we do not want a shutdown,” said Jackson Lee.
Jackson Lee also expressed her opposition to a border wall.
“I will say to the American people: There is no foreign war or attack at the southern border,” she said.
“To juxtapose a stagnant wall to the lives of those fleeing political persecution is untenable,” Jackson Lee said.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, today, I remind my colleagues of a President who reminded us of the shining city on a Hill. I remind our colleagues of a President who led us to a kinder and gentler society. So I am stunned to hear the President speak of claiming to be asking for the government to be shut down.
This is a season where many in our Nation draw together with families and worship and celebrate. It is a very honored time. People of the Christian faith are engaged in the recognition and acknowledgment of the birth of baby Jesus. It is a holy time. It is a time when families need resources. Government workers need to ensure that their families are provided for, but also we must ensure that our government is provided for. I thank the Speaker-elect and the Democratic leader in the Senate, the other body, for recognizing that we do not want a shutdown.
To those who speak of the necessity of a wall, let me speak as a Representative of a border State who has been to the border so many times, I cannot count. I count those on the border, among many of the States, as friends, having been to every border State. I will say to the American people: There is no foreign war or attack at the southern border.
We have a northern border as well, and I have been there. There is no wall there.
The only thing that is at the southern border are mothers and children living in desperate, devastating, and disgusting conditions, and unaccompanied children fleeing from the decapitation of their brothers or fathers, fleeing politically because they disagree with the viciousness of cartels and refuse to accept their membership.
That is where America's best angels come in, when we rise to the higher occasion of giving refuge and opportunity to those who are fleeing political persecution. Here is how we do it. We process asylum seekers. We do not undermine their process. They are fleeing for their lives.
To juxtapose a stagnant wall to the lives of those fleeing political persecution is untenable. It is crucial that we design a comprehensive immigration reform policy. It is crucial that the acknowledgment that barriers of certain kinds--technology and personnel--can be a successful formula to ensure the safety and security of the American people. But at the same time, I insist that we regulate or bring into regular order Dreamers, who are firefighters, soldiers, lawyers, doctors, and family members throughout the Nation. Where is the call for that?
It is important that we remain a nation that people flee to because of the wonderful values of democracy, the underpinnings of the dignity of all people. It is sad at this time that we have not come to that conclusion in a bipartisan manner.
So I extend the olive branch. What are we doing for the Dreamers? Why is it not reasonable to construct a funding process or scheme or formula that ensures that kind of bipartisanship and security?
Let me also encourage my colleagues to join me in working in a bipartisan way to pass the Violence Against Women Act. We are reaching out. It is a crucial initiative. Right now, there are family members dying at the hands of domestic violence.
There are law enforcement officers, including my own chief, who asked me about the funding of the STOP grants that are utilized for organizations that will protect these families subjected to violence, such as Native Americans, with healthcare for VAWA victims and ensuring that the person who has already been convicted of abuse does not have random access to a weapon, which is the weapon of choice that kills a family member.
Finally, let me say I hope that we can bring, Mr. Speaker, conclusion to a sentencing and prison reform bill that I have worked very hard on.
Why not give a gift to the American people--not a shutdown, but a bipartisan step, one by one, to make America an even greater country than it already is.