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Video: Kaine Delivers Speech on Senate Floor on Border Security

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) delivered a speech on the Senate floor regarding border security legislation that resulted from months of negotiations by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), and James Lankford (R-OK), and the White House. The legislation is again being considered by the Senate this week after it was torpedoed by congressional Republicans in February.

Border Bill Floor Speech

VIDEO of Kaine’s remarks are available here.

“…It’s not lost on me how hard it is to do a deal where both the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Border Patrol union, who tend to be quite opposite politically, take a look at a compromise and say: you know, this isn't perfect, but we need to do this. I don't know of another issue where these two organizations have said ‘we need to do this.’ That was… the needle that these senators were able to thread after months and months and months of negotiation. But just as in [border security negotiations in 2013 and 2018], a significant effort to protect our border and make our country safer in a bipartisan way got shot down when President Trump came out and encouraged Republicans to oppose it—even though they had been briefed on the negotiated every step of the way and supported it—President Trump, as soon as he said they should oppose it, folks turned tail and ran,” Kaine said.

“…[Donald Trump] was honest about the reason. He didn't say oppose it because he didn't like clause A or clause C. He pretty much said ‘we don't want to fix this problem. We would rather raise heck about this problem and blame Joe Biden about this problem than fix this problem.’ We're sent here to solve problems. And when we have a bipartisan solution that fits this narrow window where both left and right say it's the right step to take, we should do it,” Kaine continued.

In addition to providing more paths to permanent residence for America’s Afghan allies who fought side-by-side with U.S. servicemembers in Afghanistan, the legislation would provide funding to deploy more inspection machines to detect fentanyl at ports of entry at the southern border and increase law enforcement personnel, immigration judge teams, and asylum officers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 72,000 Americans died of a fentanyl overdose in 2022. According to the Virginia Department of Health, nearly 2,000 Virginians died of a fentanyl overdose in that same year—a deeply concerning increase from 50 fentanyl overdose deaths in Virginia in 2012. 2023 figures regarding fentanyl overdoses are not yet available.

Kaine has long called for comprehensive immigration reform that would boost border security and more funding for resources to combat the fentanyl crisis. Kaine has introduced and passed the bipartisan Disrupt Fentanyl Trafficking Act to direct increased federal attention to fentanyl trafficking by declaring fentanyl trafficking a national security threat, utilizing Pentagon resources like counter-drug intelligence, and involving Mexico as an active partner to combat the crisis. Kaine also helped pass a supplemental national security funding package that included the FEND Off Fentanyl Act, bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Kaine, to require the President to sanction drug rings involved in international drug trafficking.