Former Obama DHS Secretary: 'I'm Not in Favor of Seeing Less Fencing Than There Is Now'

February 24, 2019

Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on Sunday that he was not in favor of seeing less fencing along the southern border than there is now.

"Some Democrats have talked about removing fencing at the border. Is it a national emergency? And would you be in favor of seeing less fencing than is there now?" "Meet the Press" anchor Chuck Todd asked Johnson, who served under President Barack Obama.

"I am not in favor of seeing less fencing than there is now," Johnson said. "I think that we need to continue our efforts at border security. Smart border security. Smart investments in the use of the tax payers' dollars in border security. I do not believe that it was appropriate for the president to invoke section 2808 of Title X. That is intended for a war or national emergency historically overseas. So this is really, in my judgment, trying to fit a square peg in a round hole."

Beto O'Rourke, a failed Democratic senatorial candidate and potential 2020 presidential candidate, said that he would "absolutely" tear down existing border wall and suggested the wall has resulted in the death of many migrants.

"Here's what we know, after the Secure Fence Act, we have built 600 miles of wall and fencing on a 2,000-mile border. What that has done is not in any demonstrable way made us safer," O'Rourke said. "It has cost us tens of billions of dollars to build and to maintain, and it has pushed migrants and asylum seekers and refugees to the most inhospitable, the most hostile stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border."

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), a 2020 presidential candidate, followed suit and said she could potentially support removing existing border fencing.

Published under: Immigration , Jeh Johnson