Cracks appear in Democrats’ united front against border wall

by WorldTribune Staff, January 29, 2019

Several Democrats have signaled support for a physical barrier at the U.S. southern border.

Virginia Rep. Elaine Luria and 30 other members in a letter last week urged Pelosi to make a deal with President Donald Trump that includes a wall in certain areas along the border.

Sen. Mark Warner: ‘We’ve got about 700 miles of existing fencing. Where folks say we need additional barrier protections, I’m all for it.’

The letter is one of several signs that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s unity in rejecting funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall is beginning to fray at the edges.

Trump is “not talking about a wall from sea to shining sea,” Luria said. “That is not what we are talking about. We are talking about physical barriers as recommended by experts.”

California Rep. Katie Hill, Washington Rep. Adam Smith, and Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos have all said they are not opposed to fencing in certain border areas.

Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire told CNN on Jan. 28: “We all pledged to work in good faith to find common ground on border security. 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.”

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner claimed during an NPR radio interview: “I’ve said repeatedly that increased border security, even if some of that means a barrier, but it ought to be based upon the experts who know how to spend funds at the border – not some arbitrary number picked by the president.”

Warner also told Fox News last week, “I know we’re going to have to add additional border security … We’ve got about 700 miles of existing fencing. Where folks say we need additional barrier protections, I’m all for it.”

Meanwhile, voters in congressional districts that Trump won in 2016 but flipped Democratic in the 2018 midterms support the president’s border wall and believe Pelosi should have accepted his immigration deal to end the partial government shutdown, a new survey shows.

Public Opinion Strategies conducted the poll for the Republican National Committee.

The survey tested several border messages, for example on costs, support from border agents, and the national security threat illegal immigration poses. “After they hear this series of statements, voters in these DEM-held congressional districts move toward supporting the president’s border barrier as they shift away from Pelosi,” said the survey analysis.

Voters in districts in New York, Minnesota, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Maine, Virginia and New Jersey said they believe that Trump’s immigration compromise dismissed by Pelosi should have been accepted in the shutdown struggle.

The survey found that more voters believe Trump “has been more open to compromise on this issue than congressional Democrats.”

The survey included voters from 10 representative districts, some of which Trump won by a big margin but then voted a Democrat into office in 2018, also found that a plurality approve of the president’s job performance, 49 percent to 48 percent.

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