By Jon Dougherty, editor-in-chief
The longest government shutdown in U.S. history has ended, but that doesn’t mean that House Democrats whose constituents have always been supportive of border security are now off the hook.
In fact, you could say the pressure is even greater now for them to make a deal with President Donald Trump on his border wall and other security measures.
At town halls in their districts around the country, Democrats continue to hear from voters who support adding security to a porous, dangerous border, especially at a time when the U.S. is under siege from migrant caravans and drug smugglers.
“I don’t understand how anybody can think that you can have a compromise and have [a]Â discussion when Nancy Pelosi stands up there and says, â€˜I’ll give him $1 for whatever the wall is,'” George RogeroÂ toldÂ Democratic congressman Sean Patrick Maloney during a town hall in New York, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
“So when you talk about compromise, unfortunately, a lot of times a compromise means we get what we want and you donâ€™t get anything.”
In response to that, Maloney noted that he supports “real” border security, which includes physical barriers where necessary. However, he said he’s against a “sea-to-shining-sea” border wall across the entire U.S.-Mexico boundary.
But so is POTUS Trump, and he has said so often throughout the shutdown and resultant border security debates with Congress. In fact, as the Washington Examiner’s Byron York documented earlier this month, the president has said a number of times that only certain sections of the border require a substantial barrier.
Maloney wasn’t the only Democrat to face pressure from constituents over border security, as the Free Beacon noted:
Maloney’s colleagues in the House Democratic majority faced similar questions over the weekend. The issue of border security was particularly salient at town halls hosted by freshman Democrats, many of whom represent districts Trump carried on his way to the White House in 2016.
Freshman Rep. Kendra Horn of Oklahoma told constituents that she’s committed to working “across the aisle” with Republicans to security the border and keep the government open when she wasÂ askedÂ about the topic during a town hall on Saturday.
“My standpoint about border security is that we need to have a smart, comprehensive slate of solutions. What I mean by that is, we need to look at the technology and the right combination of things that’s going to make us both safe and secure,” she said.
The president has said the same things.
In a White House explainer, the admininstration noted that, in addition to the president’s $5.7 billion funding request for 234 miles of new border wall, “to protect our communities, the Administration requested $675 million to deter and detect narcotics, weapons, and other materials crossing our borders” — technologies, in other words.
But like POTUS Trump and Border Patrol personnel have said, drones can’t interdict people crossing the border illegally. That’s why the White House’s request also includes funding for an additional 750 border agents, more ICE personnel, and additional immigration law judges to process cases.
For her part, Horn did agree that border walls should be part of a package of solutions.
“In some places, that may include some form of a physical barrier. In many places, we need technology. There are sensors, there are drones, there are things we can do that will help to notify our Border Patrol agents on a more rapid basis,” Horn said, according to the Free Beacon.
FreshmanÂ Democratic congressman Anthony Brindisi of New York also pledged to constituents that he would work towards a bipartisan solution that wouldÂ “strengthen our borders” in the next few weeks before the current 21-day funding bill that reopened government expires.
“I could supportÂ funding for physical barriers where the experts tell us they make sense â€¦ [also] investments in technology at the border, you have to have more border agents and if we can throw in there some other immigration reforms that have been hampering us for the last couple years we should try and get that done too,” Brindisi said.
Other Democrats agreed, but were less specific about actual border barriers.
“We’ve got to beef up border security, there’s no question about that,” said representative DaveÂ Loebsack at aÂ town hallÂ in Newton, Iowa. “Iâ€™ve said that all along. We’ve got to [focus] more resources into that.”
But he also wants comprehensive immigration reform as well.
“We also have to make sure we have immigration reform. â€¦ We’ve got a lot of young folks who were brought here through no fault of their own by their parents. I think they should be provided a path to citizenship. â€¦ We’ve got to make sure that we provide a future for them in this country,” he said.
The president also wants to reform the current immigration system which contains far too many loopholes.
“The United States must adopt an immigration system that serves the national interest. To restore the rule of law and secure our border, President Trump is committed to constructing a border wall and ensuring the swift removal of unlawful entrants,” the White House notes.
“To protect American workers, the President supports ending chain migration, eliminating the Visa Lottery, and moving the country to a merit-based entry system. These reforms will advance the safety and prosperity of all Americans while helping new citizens assimilate and flourish.”
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