In his last days in the U.S. House, U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin has been pressing to help President Donald Trump get the wall he wants along the country’s border with Mexico.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin

“The greatest Christmas gift for America is securing our borders,” the two-term, lame duck lawmaker said. He insisted that drugs coming across the border are hurting rural Maine, though experts have said most of the opioids that have been the focus of attention are coming from China.

“We have one heck of a problem on our southwest border with Mexico: in California, New Mexico, and Arizona,” Poliquin said. “We have a very dangerous and very unhealthy situation just on the other side of the fence, in particular now, with Mexico.”

The 2nd District lawmaker said he talked with nearly every GOP member of the House and urged Trump to push them to pass a spending bill that would include provisions to clamp down on immigration – going beyond the wall to limit entry into the United States.

Instead, the House Republicans approved a spending bill that includes $5.7 billion for border security that appears to have no chance to pass the Senate before tonight’s deadline to prevent a partial federal government shutdown.

Trump said on Twitter Friday that a shutdown could last “for a very long time” if Congress doesn’t cough up the cash for the wall he has promised since he began running for president, though in those days he always said Mexico would pay for it.

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Last week, Trump said he would proudly take credit for shutting down the government if it won’t fund the wall, but Friday he blamed the Democrats for blocking him.

“The Democrats, whose votes we need in the Senate, will probably vote against Border Security and the Wall even though they know it is DESPERATELY NEEDED,” Trump said in an early morning tweet. “If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time. People don’t want Open Borders and Crime!”

Poliquin, defeated in last month’s election by Democrat Jared Golden, warned Trump that he must act now.

“It is not too late, but it is getting too late,” Poliquin said.

“After the Democrats take control of this body” on Jan. 3, Poliquin warned, “they have told us what they will bring or try to bring to the president’s desk. It will not be what the president wants. It will not be what America wants. It will be some form of open border, sanctuary cities, and amnesty.”

Poliquin said this is the last chance to push through “a real strong border security and immigration bill.”

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He cautioned Trump and the GOP not to settle for less.

“Why would we want to negotiate for peanuts when we can get the whole ball of wax?” Poliquin said.

Poliquin asked the president to push for a measure that failed earlier in the session that called for $25 billion for border security measures that included a wall.

It also sought to end visa lotteries for would-be Americans, rein in so-called “chain migration” that gives family members of Americans greater priority for visas and “reforms the asylum process” to make it more difficult for refugees claiming asylum.

“We have the votes to do this,” Poliquin said, and Republicans ought to pursue it.

“It is the responsibility of the United States House of Representatives, this body, and also the United States Senate, to protect our families,” Poliquin said. “There is nothing more important as dictated by the United States Constitution, than to protect our families.”

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