Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pennsylvania) said that Democrats should engage with Republicans on border security, acknowledging that illegal immigration is a serious issue.
Sen. Fetterman gave his opinion in an interview with Politico.
“I hope Democrats can understand that it isn’t xenophobic to be concerned about the border,” said Fetterman. “It’s a reasonable conversation, and Democrats should engage.”
Fetterman wants Democrats to acknowledge the problems that come with the unprecedented amount of people coming across the southern border.
He cited one statistic saying that there were nearly 270,000 encounters at the U.S southern border in September 2023 alone.
“You essentially have Pittsburgh showing up there at the border,” said Fetterman.
Although he expressed willingness to make compromises with Republicans on border security, he still remains divided from his colleagues across the aisle on other border issues. For example, Fetterman is unwilling to make any compromise that would jeopardize the status of Dreamers, immigrants who arrived illegally as children and, in many cases, have lived in the U.S. for the majority of their lives.
Fetterman’s wife, Gisele Fetterman, was a dreamer who came to the U.S. at the age of seven and did not receive citizenship until 2009.
While criticizing his own party’s unwillingness to consider a border compromise, he also opposed Republicans’ current border reform proposal.
Fetterman’s statements come as a spending package providing military funding to Israel and Ukraine has been blocked by Republicans.
Many Republicans oppose sending more money to Ukraine in addition to the $200 Billion of taxpayer money already used to prop up the country’s military and economy, particularly while Democrats refuse to make concessions on border policy.
Fetterman has expressed staunch support for Israel in opposition to many in his party and is concerned that a delay of the spending package will have dire consequences for Israel and Ukraine.
He did not get into the specific compromises he would be willing to make on border policy.
Fetterman’s statements come shortly after he sided with Republicans in calling for a ban on China purchasing farmland in the United States, and continues a surprising trend of common sense remarks from the Pennsylvania progressive.