Democratic Homeland Security Chair: I 'Would Not Rule Out a Wall in Certain Instances'

January 20, 2019

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D., Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on Sunday that he does not deny the effectiveness of border walls in certain instances.

ABC's "This Week" host Martha Raddatz asked Thompson if he would rule out a wall in any negotiations with President Donald Trump.

"I would not rule out a wall in certain instances," Thompson said. "Now the notion that we can't have barriers is just something that's not true, but again, Martha, you have to have a plan and the plan that the president initially started with is where he is now. We don't know where he will be tomorrow."

Trump and Congress remain at an impasse over funding for Trump's proposed wall along the southern border. The standoff has resulted in a partial government shutdown that is now in its 30th day.

Over 800,000 furloughed federal government workers have gone without a paycheck, with some of them still having to work. Trump is adamant Congress approve wall funding while Democratic leaders like Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) remain adamant no funding will go towards a border wall. Pelosi has gone as far as saying a border wall is "immoral."

Some Democrats have distanced themselves from Pelosi's view by saying some physical barriers are necessary along the border.

"You just heard the chief of border protection for the San Diego sector tell me barriers are an essential part of effectively controlling the border because it allows for agents to focus on specific threats like smuggling drugs and he was showing me exactly the kind of barriers that President Trump was talking about ... so why are Democrats opposed to any physical wall in addition to updated technology?" Raddatz asked.

"Well, I don't think Democrats are opposed to any physical barriers. It's just the president constantly involves his description of the wall just as he indicated Mexico was going to pay for whatever was there. So what we have to do is sit down, work through this and let the public know exactly what we're talking about and what they can expect. We're not there yet. Democrats historically have supported certain barriers, certain other things to protect this country," Thompson said.