Hawai‘i Leaders Comment on Trump’s Border Wall Trade Proposal

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Hawai‘i legislators and organizations released statements in response to President Donald Trump’s proposal on Jan. 19, 2019, to end the government shutdown by trading a temporary extension of TPS and DACA for his border wall.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz: “We need to open the government first. We can negotiate a proposal on border security and immigration later, but risking the health and safety of Americans, hurting the economy, and delivering pain to families can never be the start of a fruitful negotiation.”

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono: “This is yet another bogus offer from a president who changes his mind on a whim and can’t be trusted. Instead of succumbing to the president’s strategy of negotiating through hostage taking, Mitch McConnell should bring the House passed bills to the floor of the Senate for a vote and end this shutdown.”

Democratic Party of Hawai‘i Chair Keali‘i Lopez: “Unfortunately, President Trump’s proposal is a publicity stunt at a time when we need real solutions. This deal is full of suggestions that he knows have already been rejected and cannot garner the necessary votes. Our residents here in Hawaiʻi and abroad are feeling the very real impacts of this shutdown.


“With the largest share of federal jobs in the country, Hawai’i is among the top three states most impacted by Trump’s shutdown. The Democratic Party of Hawai’i is calling on the president to come forward with a real comprise and serious proposals to reopen government and restore certainty for our workers. He is being irresponsible with the livelihood of thousands of government employees, and the safety of the entire country.

ACLU of Hawaii by Executive Director Joshua Wisch: “Hawai‘i is home to tens of thousands of federal workers. We’re also home to refugees and DACA recipients. In his statement today, the president is using their lives as poker chips in his bid to secure billions for a wall that doesn’t stand the independent scrutiny of Congress or the American people.

“The courts have already provided a temporary fix for DACA by preventing President Trump’s bid to start deporting Dreamers. People in Hawai’i and nationwide demand a permanent solution—which today’s proposal utterly fails to provide. Tying the reopening of government to a policy proposal—from either party—is a perversion of our constitutional system and should not be encouraged. The President is holding all of us hostage for a $5.7 billion ransom.


“This administration must stop using Dreamers, refugees, and federal workers as game pieces. This longest ever—and increasingly dangerous—government shutdown should end now. There is a crisis at the border, but it’s the one the President created by separating thousands of families, caging children, and lying about the extent of it all. Keeping over 800,000 working Americans from getting paid – including thousands of Hawai’i families—won’t fix that.”

The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans National Director Gregg Orton: “President Trump’s most recent proposal to end the government shutdown is an uninspired act of political theater. The shutdown, the termination of TPS and ending DACA are all crises that were manufactured by the president himself. By offering DACA and TPS extensions for his wall, the president has offered an ultimately ineffective solution in exchange for another ineffective solution. Democrats are right to reject this. Our country deserves better.

“President Trump’s unhealthy obsession with building a wall is inflicting massive damage upon America. This shutdown has gone on for nearly a month. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are not getting paid; and because many are unable to do the jobs they wish to do; there is cascading disruption across our economy. It is painfully ironic that the fabricated and over-exaggerated threat that President Trump’s wall would supposedly protect us from is now dwarfed by the actual, very real threat of this record-setting and continuing shutdown.


“The AAPI community is all-too-familiar with being told ‘you do not belong,’ or government-sanctioned exclusion by the government. This is why we stand with the majority of Americans in rejecting this current xenophobic crusade.

“The president continues to cripple the country to prove that he does not like immigrants, while seemingly failing to grasp that a wall is ineffective border security investment, despite overwhelming evidence. It is time for the President to accept an age old-truth of politics: you win some; you lose some; and it is long past due for Republicans to rise to the occasion of leading when their leader will not.”

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