". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Fetterman Sides with GOP on Border Control

January 23, 2024

A well-known Democratic senator is breaking away from his party’s position to side with Republicans on illegal immigration and border control. Appearing on CNN’s “The Lead” on Friday, Senator John Fetterman (D-Pa.) quipped, “I honestly don’t understand why it’s controversial to say we need a secure border.”

The senator, whose wife immigrated legally from Brazil, continued, “We want to provide the American Dream for any migrant. But it seems very difficult when you have 300,000 people showing up encountered at our border. ... And I think we need to do a reset, and we have to work together and develop a new comprehensive solution to that.”

Fetterman’s comments are just the latest in a series of rebuttals against the Biden administration’s open borders over the past month. Last week, the junior Pennsylvania senator told the New York Post, “There is a crisis. We have a crisis at our border, and it can’t be controversial that we should have a secure border.” Noting the 300,000 illegal immigrants encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border in December alone, he commented, “That’s larger than the population of Pittsburgh. … That’s [Pennsylvania’s] second largest city — and that’s one month.” Earlier this month, at an event with Joe Biden, Fetterman declared, “There is a crisis at the border, and I don’t know how anybody could pretend there isn’t.”

In a mid-December interview with NBC News, Fetterman explained that he no longer considers himself a “progressive” but just a Democrat. A chief point of contention, he said, is his party’s open-borders policies. He said, “And immigration is something near and dear to me, and I think we do have to effectively address it as well.” The senator said he disagrees with the characterization of immigration control as cruel and called on Democrats to work together with Republicans to secure the border. He said, “It’s a reasonable conversation — until somebody can say there’s an explanation on what we can do when 270,000 people are being encountered on the border, not including the ones, of course, that we don’t know about.”

Republicans have expressed appreciation for Fetterman’s support on bipartisan border control and have even signaled a greater openness to working with the freshman senator. Republican Senator Kevin Cramer (N.D.) said, “It certainly makes it more appealing to want to work with him on things if you see this independent streak.” Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) praised Fetterman for being a man who “speaks his own mind” and “doesn’t follow the party line.” Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) said, “He’s not in lockstep with the progressives in his party … I don’t know if he’s had an epiphany or exactly what’s going on, but [it’s] obviously gotten a lot of people’s attention.” Ohio Senator J.D. Vance (R) called Fetterman’s approach to the border “smart.”

Other Democrats have followed Fetterman’s lead and begun to sound the alarm over the southern border, despite the majority of their party’s position. Longshot Biden primary challenger Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) told Fox News on Monday, “Our southern border is a disaster. I’m a Democrat telling you, I’ve been there twice. I’ve seen it. Someone has got to get it under control.” He added, “And by the way, I think we have to change our asylum policy. It is not serving this country. Democrats know it. Republicans know it. The lack of leadership and the [un]willingness to be bold because you’re afraid of losing an election is why we’re in this position.”

Fetterman’s senate colleague Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) insisted over the weekend, “The border is in crisis.” She added, “I have long been saying we need to improve security. It’s not where it needs to be.” Even Biden campaign co-chair Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) admitted that the border was in shambles. Speaking to CNN last week, Coons admitted that the illegal immigration surge has caused Democrats to reconsider positions or policies: “I think there’s a willingness to reconsider the initial screening standard for asylum, for example, because so many people are now using the asylum process, who, ultimately, years later, after a court review, will be deemed ineligible for asylum. That’s one of the biggest changes in recent years.”

A recent report released by the Congressional Budget Office noted that the Biden administration has used “parole” loopholes to release 6.2 million illegal immigrants into the U.S. since taking office in January of 2021.

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.