The Trump Administration has argued that the border wall is needed to stop terrorists from entering the country, but that notion rubs New York Mayor Bill de Blasio the wrong way.
Ahead of President Donald Trump’s oval office speech, de Blasio was asked if he plans to tune in. Yes, he answered —but to the question of if he expects to be persuaded in support of the border wall, he said, simply, “no.”
“That $5 billion — now I’m hearing $7 billion — for the wall, I could tell you a lot of things we could in this city to help people, to rebuild our infrastructure, to get people health care, to improve our schools,” he said at an unrelated Tuesday press conference. “That’s where our money should go to.”
“The other thing that’s really pissing me off…you know, we are the number one terror target in the country,” he added. “I have spent five years talking to [Former NYPD] Commissioner Bratton, [Current NYPD] Commissioner O’Neill, the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force about the threats we face. I cannot remember a single conversation where they said there’s a threat to New York City coming from the southern border.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said on Friday that Customs and Border Protection agents caught about 4,000 known or suspected terrorists “that came across our southern border” last year.
In actuality, the Department of Homeland Security prevented nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists from “traveling to the United States” by any means in 2017, NBC reported. Customs and Border patrol stopped only six “non-U.S. persons” on the Terrorist Screening Database at the southern border in the first half of 2018.
Administration officials eventually said Sanders made a mistake. Still, Trump reportedly plans to pitch the border wall as necessary because of a terror threat in his Tuesday night address.
“This notion that terrorism is emanating from the southern border is laughable,” de Blasio said. “We have some real challenges here that are not coming from the southern border. They are coming from other places. The airports are the place we need to be worried about, not the border wall.”
“But also, if the president was serious about security, he would want to make sure that people on the terror watch list couldn’t get guns,” de Blasio added, “but he hasn’t been too willing to take on the NRA, so this is getting kind of stupid at this point.”