In his speech at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington D.C. on Monday, in which he explained his newly-released National Security Strategy, President Donald Trump said that border security is the primary pillar of the plan. “We will secure our borders through the construction of a border wall, the use of multilayered defenses and advanced technology, the employment of additional personal and other measures,” said the president’s formal strategy document.
In his speech, Trump said, “First, we must protect the American people, the homeland and our great American way of life.” Trump said, “This strategy recognizes that we cannot secure our nation if we do not secure our borders. So, for the first time ever, American strategy now includes a serious plan to defend our homeland."
"It calls for the construction of a wall on our southern border, ending chain migration and the horrible visa and lottery programs, closing loopholes that undermine enforcement, and strongly supporting our Border Patrol agents, ICE officers, and Homeland Security Personnel,” he declared.
Turning to his opponents in Washington, he said that the country’s borders were left open by his predecessors despite objections on the part of Americans. “Over the profound objections of the American people, our politicians left our borders wide open,” Trump said.
“Millions of immigrants entered illegally, millions more were admitted into our country without the proper vetting needed to protect our security and our economy,” he said.
“Leaders in Washington imposed on the country an immigration policy that Americans never voted for, never asked for, and never approved,” Trump said. “A policy where the wrong people are allowed into our country and the right people are rejected.
“American citizens, as usual, have been left to bear the costs and pick up the tab,” he said.
While calling for securing the border itself, Trump’s National Security Strategy also seeks “enhanced vetting of prospective immigrants,” enforcing the immigration laws “in the interior” of the country, and enhancing “the security of the pathways through which people and goods enter the country.”
“Pillar 1” of the president’s National Security Strategy is titled “Protect the American People, the Homeland, and the American Way of Life.” As part of this principal element of the strategy, actions would include defending the country from weapons of mass destruction and biothreats, Muslim terrorists, transnational criminal organizations that bring drugs into the United States (e.g. MS-13), and cyberattacks. The strategy includes provisions to “withstand and recover rapidly from deliberate attacks, accidents, natural disasters, as well as unconventional stresses, shocks and threats to our economy and democratic system.”
Currently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is sending more resources to the border between the U.S. and Mexico, including more officers and barriers. This appears to be in response to an increased number of illegal alien crossings over the past several months.
After Trump's election, the number of illegal crossings hit an all-time low in April, with only 11,127 illegal aliens detained. But the Border Patrol says that it made 22,537 arrests at the southwest border in September, nearly double the April number. Border Patrol agents believe that the increase in arrests is a sign that illegal aliens are testing the Trump administration, and expect the number to continue to rise.
The administration is working to deter the rise of illegal border crossings by giving the Border Patrol more resources - DHS says it plans to hire 10,000 additional ICE officers and add more border gates and barriers.