Issues

Hoyer: ‘Physical Barriers Are Part of the Solution’ to Improve Border Security

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) on Tuesday admitted that physical barriers are "part of the solution" to improve border security.

Hoyer appeared on Fox News' "Your World," where he told host Neil Cavuto that he does not think that President Donald Trump will get any Democrats to support his immigration proposal. He did acknowledge, however, that a wall along the southern border is part of the solution, appearing to distance himself from some of his Democratic colleagues.

"Would you, Steny Hoyer, be open—you yourself, be open for wall funding?" Cavuto asked.

"Look, I think physical barriers are part of the solution," Hoyer responded.

Cavuto followed up by clarifying whether Hoyer's response means that he does not share House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D., Calif.) view that a border wall is "immoral."

"Look, I think it depends upon what a wall is used for whether it is moral or immoral. If it's protecting people, it's moral. If it's imprisoning people, it may well be immoral," Hoyer said. "That's not the issue. We want border security. We want to make sure that people who come into the United States of America are authorized to do so and we know they come in. We don't want contraband. We don't want drugs coming in. We don't want dangerous people coming into the country. So we're for border security."

Trump and Democrats in 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 began at midnight on Dec. 22. Over 800,000 furloughed federal government workers have gone without a paycheck, with some of them still having to work.

Trump is adamant that Congress approve the $5.7 billion in funding that he wants for the wall, while Democratic leaders, like Pelosi, remain adamant that no funding will go toward a border wall. Hoyer is one of a handful of Democrats who have distanced themselves from Pelosi's comments on a wall being "immoral."

Senate Republicans on Monday released a version of Trump's proposal to end the shutdown. The legislation would fully fund the government and invest nearly $6 billion in building a border wall, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

The 1300 page "End the Shutdown and Secure the Border Act" (ESSBA) was introduced by Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.) in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Its contents mirror Trump's proposal to provide temporary amnesty for roughly one million illegally resident people, in exchange for funding for the president's long-desired border wall.

Funding the wall—in one form or another—has been the fundamental source of contention in the nation's ongoing partial government shutdown. Now the longest in U.S. history, the shutdown has shuttered a number of federal agencies, as recalcitrant Democrats have refused to accede to Trump's demand for more border security spending. The proposal embodied in the new bill is Trump's "effort to compromise" with congressional Democrats, according to Vice President Mike Pence.

The bill would also grant temporary protection to two populations of illegal immigrants: DREAMers and TPS-recipients.