Concerned with border security and the crime associated with cross-border drug trafficking and illegal immigration, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall accepted an invitation to the White House to participate in a panel discussion on Monday about cooperation between federal, state, and local government in protecting national borders.
Chaired by Mercy Schlapp, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications, the panel consisted of Marshall, along with CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, ICE Deputy Director Ron Vitiello, U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), Governor Doug Ducey (R-AZ), and Cochise County, Arizona, Sheriff Mark J. Dannels in a discussion in the East Room of the White House.
“Due to our state’s proximity to Atlanta, a major distribution point for drugs, and to Texas, a border state, Alabama has become a prime transit point for drug trafficking,” said Marshall. “We see marijuana, cocaine, meth, and now illicit fentanyl coming into our state as a result. The drug trade brings dangerous and violent illegal aliens into Alabama. Just this summer, our state was rocked by the brutal murder of a special needs 13-year-old girl—killed by affiliates of the Mexican drug cartel. I am grateful to the President and the White House for allowing me to share the observations of Alabama law enforcement and our citizens.”
The day also featured an immigration a ceremony with President Donald Trump‘s that honored the men and women of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). There, agents, ho have been caught in the crosshairs of the immigration policy debate as they uphold their sworn duty to enforce the law, were brought to the podium to note their achievements in addressing unlawful border crossings and stemming the flow of illicit drugs.
“As the chief law enforcement officer of the State of Alabama, I want to thank each member of ICE and CBP for your courage and your loyalty to enforcing the laws of this country in the face of irresponsible rhetoric and meritless attacks,” added Marshall. “The people of Alabama thank you, too. The work of ICE and CBP has a direct connection to the safety of the citizenry that extends far beyond those states that are on the border.”
Marshall continued, “A shared mission and strong partnership between state and local law enforcement and the brave agents of ICE and CBP are in the best interest of public safety and I am pleased with the coordination that I see in Alabama. But in the immigration debate, public safety is not the only threat we must contend with. The rule of law—America’s bedrock principle—is under attack as well.”
Marshall singled out Trump and former Alabama U.S. Senator, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for their strong support of border security.
“Under the previous administration, amnesty programs were unconstitutionally initiated by executive fiat and without any action from Congress. The former United States Attorney General turned a blind eye to sanctuary cities that brazenly refused to work with ICE and CBP,” said Marshall. “The Justice Department also failed to cooperate with Congress when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in relation to a botched gunwalking operation. Thanks to the leadership of President Trump, Attorney General Sessions, and Secretary [Kristjen] Nielsen, we have finally begun to see the pendulum swing in the other direction. But the work is far from over. We must secure our borders and we must restore respect for the rule of law throughout this country. The men and women of ICE and CBP are critical to securing our borders, and Attorneys General—I believe—must play a major role in restoring the rule of law.”
Watch the White House panel discussion below: