Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) has called for bipartisan cooperation in addressing border security challenges, as the U.S. faces a surge in migrant arrivals, breaking from party lines to urge his fellow Democrats to take the issue seriously and reject identity politics.
Speaking to Politico, Fetterman stressed that concerns about the border are valid and not inherently xenophobic, advocating for a balanced discussion on the issue.
“I hope Democrats can understand that it isn’t xenophobic to be concerned about the border,” Fetterman said. “It’s a reasonable conversation, and Democrats should engage.”
Fetterman's remarks come in the wake of Republicans blocking a substantial $111 billion funding bill, demanding immigration policy reforms be included. The bill, aimed at addressing various national and international security needs, has become a point of contention due to differing views on border security and immigration.
The Senator highlighted recent statistics showing nearly 270,000 migrant encounters at the southwest border, likening the volume to the population of Pittsburgh. This comparison underscores the scale of the issue and the need for effective policy responses.
While Democrats, led by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), are keen to fulfill President Joe Biden's funding requests, including border security enhancements, they face opposition from Republicans seeking more stringent immigration measures. GOP Senator James Lankford (R-OK) has voiced concerns about securing U.S. borders while ensuring national security.
Negotiations between the parties have resumed following a counter-offer from the Republicans, with President Biden indicating a willingness to compromise significantly on border issues.
In his discussion with Politico, Fetterman did not specify any particular concessions he would support but expressed opposition to policies adversely affecting “Dreamers” - undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, a group that includes his wife, Gisele Fetterman. He criticized a border security bill passed by the GOP-led House as overly partisan.