Democrats need to get past their knee-jerk rejection of improved border security, Democratic Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania said Thursday.
“I hope Democrats can understand that it isn’t xenophobic to be concerned about the border,” Fetterman said, according to Politico. “It’s a reasonable conversation, and Democrats should engage.”
Fetterman pointed to the sheer scale of illegal immigration, noting that Customs and Border Protection reported about 270,000 migrant encounters in September.
“Honestly, it’s astonishing. And this isn’t a Fox News kind of statistic. This is the government’s,” he said. “You essentially have Pittsburgh showing up there at the border.”
Fetterman wouldn’t discuss the parameters of what he would support, but did say he would not be open to any legislation targeting those who entered the country as children of illegal immigrants. His wife came here illegally as a child, although she became a citizen in 2009.
Earlier this week, concerns about illegal immigration led Senate Republicans to reject an effort to move forward with a $106 billion aid package that includes money for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.
“What’s next? What’s next is the commander in chief — Joe Biden — needs to wake up and do something about a broken border,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said, according to ABC News.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said Republicans would insist on tightened border security in negotiations over the aid package.
“President Biden has been unmoved to work with us to try to come up with a solution until now,” he said.
“We’ve found something that provides us the opportunity to force the administration to do something they have not wanted to do up to this point and we intend to do everything we can to make sure these policies are put in place to stem the flow of illegal immigration into this country.”
On Thursday, GOP Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut held discussions on a new package, according to NBC News.
“Negotiations are back,” NBC quoted a Democratic source as saying. “Republicans presented us a proposal, we are still digesting it. There is still a lot of daylight between the two sides.”
Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina agreed.
“There’s still major decisions that have to be made about the contours of the agreement and us being able to go back to our conference and say this [is] going to reduce future flows,” Tillis said.
Republicans urged Biden to come to the negotiating table.
“When you’re making law, the president has got to be involved,” Lankford said. “If the White House is not engaged [in] the negotiations then nothing is going to get done on it.”
“It’s [Biden’s] job to fix this,” Graham said, according to Politico.
Senate negotiations “don’t matter if he’s not on board,” Graham said of Biden. “He’s the commander in chief. I think we’re wasting our time.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.