In an interview with Fox Business’ Varney & Co. this morning, Senator Portman discussed his support for the president’s border security proposal, which draws upon the top 10 priorities of the Border Security Improvement Plan outlined by the government’s border security experts. Portman believes enhanced border security is needed to help stem the flow of drugs and trafficking that remain significant problems on America’s southern border. 

Excerpts of his interview can be found below and a video can be found here

 

PORTMAN ON FINDING COMMON GROUND ON BORDER SECURITY:

“I don’t think we’re that far apart, nor have we been. Except in rhetoric. The president’s plan is a very reasonable plan, he’s talking about 234 miles of additional barriers of some type. Some fencing, some are actually barriers for vehicles. The president said it should be done consistent with the Border Security Improvement Plan, which is just what Democrats are asking for. The experts are going to decide what kind of barrier and where it is. I think it’s hard to believe that we couldn’t figure out a way to come up with some common ground here and move forward with better border security.”

PORTMAN ON THE NEED FOR ENHANCED BORDER SECURITY: 

“The experts on the border say we need more structures including more fencing. Second, [Speaker Pelosi] has, along with others, supported it in the past in the Obama administration, and in the George W. Bush administration. So, this is something Democrats and Republicans alike have supported in the past. It is part of a broader plan. The president also wants more technology.  Of course he wants more screening at the ports of entry to deal with the drug issue. He wants to help in terms of the trafficking issue. This morning, I was at the National Prayer Breakfast and the guest speaker was an expert on trafficking. I’m wearing my ‘Shine a Light on Trafficking’ pin that I got at the prayer breakfast. People should care about that because it’s happening at the border. I think what the president has proposed is a comprehensive plan. My hope is that this small group of people in the conference committee can come up with an agreement. And then we can get 60 votes or more in the Senate so that we can send it over to the House with a lot of bipartisan support.” 

PORTMAN ON PRESIDENT TRUMP’S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS: 

“I think it was important to talk about the fact that it’s a comprehensive plan because a lot of people didn’t know about that. It was also important to say this is not a wall from sea to shining sea, that was never his plan. But rather, it’s something that’s targeted and specific to certain areas. He talked about Texas, it’s good that he’s going to El Paso. In Texas, as you know, there’s only 100 miles of fencing and it’s 1,200 miles of the border. So, it’s most of the border and yet of the 600 or 700 miles of existing fencing, most of it is in California, New Mexico, Arizona, and very little of it in Texas. And they need it there. Forty percent of the crossings are now in the lower Rio Grande Valley, for example, where the president was only a few weeks ago. The border patrol experts on the ground are saying, ‘we need help here.’ Yes, we also need cameras, we need remote sensing, we need drones, we need to have better screening at the ports of entry, but we also need these fences to be able to keep people from coming in and to keep the drugs out and to keep the trafficking from being such a big problem.” 

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