Dem Sen. Hassan Supports Funding for Border Security and 'Strategic Fencing'

January 28, 2019

Sen. Maggie Hassan (D., N.H.) on Monday said she supports border security and would be willing to support funding for "strategic fencing" and whatever border patrol agents believe is necessary to protect the U.S.-Mexico border.

Hassan appeared on CNN's "Newsroom" Monday morning to wade into the ongoing debate about immigration and border security. Anchor Poppy Harlow mentioned how Hassan said back in December that she supported "strategically-placed fencing and other kinds of barriers in certain parts of our border" and then asked her whether she would support a deal that included funding for a border barrier.

"Last Thursday we had a bipartisan discussion on the Senate floor about the importance of ending the shutdown, which, there was bipartisan agreement, was needless and harmful to the American people and our economy, and that we all pledged to work in good faith to find common ground on border security," Hassan said. "That's what I'm committed to doing, and I think that really starts with making sure we're listening to the experts on the front lines on this and that may include strategic fencing in certain places."

Harlow noted this position differed from several of her Democratic colleagues and then asked Hassan how much funding she would be considering to support. Hassan dodged this question and started talking about the importance of Democrats and Republican listening to the Border Patrol agents on the front line.

"I was down on the border last May and what the CBP told me was they needed more agents, we need more immigration judges, we need better technology, especially at our ports of entry and in some places we need to improve fencing, repair fencing or perhaps put in some new fencing," Hassan said.

"What we need to be doing is focus on what the experts are telling us they need, and I think that there is a lot of common ground around that, and I'll continue to push people to look for common ground and come to compromise because that's what we're supposed to do" Hassan concluded.

President Donald Trump announced Friday the end of the partial government shutdown, which came about because he and Democrats reached an impasse over funding for a wall along the southern border. Trump said they would negotiate a deal with the government fully functional again.

Hassan joins a list of Democratic lawmakers who have begun to crack on their opposition to the wall. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and other Democrats have voiced their opposition to any funding for a wall with Pelosi going as far as calling a border wall "immoral." However, several Democrats have acknowledged that barriers or fencing could be effective, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

"Some fencing has uses. Some barriers are useful," Sen. Jeff Merkley (D,. Ore.) said.

"If we have a partial wall, if we have fencing, if we have technology used to keep our border safe, all of that is fine," Rep. Cheri Bustos (D., Ill.) said.

"There are areas along the border where there are currently fences that are put up or barriers that are put up that need to be enhanced," Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) said.

"Certainly you need barriers and we support barriers," Sen. Ben Cardin (D., Md.) said.

"Certain physical barriers can make sense along the border, and a lot of places you already have that," Rep. John Sarbanes (D., Md.) said.

"I think there are parts of the border that would benefit from repairing fencing and other barricades that already exist there," Rep. Katherine Clark (D., Mass.) said.