Sen. Richard Blumenthal says Democrats are willing to be "flexible" on border security and fund "physical structures and fences" that resemble a wall.
“If the president wants to call it a wall, so be it,” the Connecticut Democrat said in an interview Sunday with radio host John Catsimatidis on 970 AM in New York.
A wall along the Mexican border is one of the Trump administration’s three demands for a deal that gives permanent legal status to about 1.8 million people living in the U.S. without legal permission because of the actions of their parents.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., previously said he would support wall funding in exchange for permanent status for people currently covered by the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“I’m hoping we can find a bipartisan way forward on both DACA and the wall that the president has insisted on building. But everyone agrees there isn’t going to be a wall from sea to shining sea,” Blumenthal said.
Trump has repeatedly said he believes a wall is only needed for part of the border, not for areas where there are natural barriers or few immigrants crossing.
“On the wall, we would be willing to be flexible on border security. There are ways, again, to be bipartisan in devising solutions to make our borders more secure using surveillance and sensors, better training for agents … strengthening some of the physical structures and fences,” Blumenthal said. “If the president wants to call it a wall, so be it.”
There’s broad bipartisan support, including from Trump himself, for making DACA protections permanent. Last year, Trump allowed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to announce the protection would end in mid-March. Republicans argued former President Barack Obama lacked the legal authority to create DACA by executive action.
Blumenthal offered less enthusiasm Sunday for the Trump administration’s other two policy concessions requested to extend DACA protections: the elimination of extended family chain migration and the end of the diversity visa lottery system.
“We are a nation of immigrants. Family reunification is very important,” Blumenthal said. “It has to be one of the elements of this solution, the longer-term solution, on immigration reform.“
As the deadline rapidly approaches, Blumenthal said “I think that we are moving in the right direction on a bipartisan basis. And we’re doing it without the president.”