Democratic Rep. Katie Hill said that many Democrats understand that “border barriers” are a necessary part of border security, but “semantics” have played a role in the current impasse faced by both sides on the issue.
During a Saturday afternoon Fox News appearance, Hill called on President Trump to end the shutdown first, then “go to the table” with Democrats to negotiate items both sides want.
The California congresswoman began the segment by stating that Democrats “can’t talk about any of this until the government is open” before bringing up federal employees in her district affected by the shutdown.
“I think that’s the challenge, right?” Hill responded when asked about a specific dollar amount she would support towards a border barrier. “We have to air this out in an open process.”
Hill called for “experts on on both sides,” including mayors, sheriffs, and the border patrol, to weigh in on “what they feel is needed.” (RELATED: ‘We Need To Finish The Job’ — Border Patrol Sector Chief Explains Firsthand Why A Border Barrier Is Desperately Needed)
“We know that there’s already fencing and other physical barriers across the border in many different places, but there are gaps and we need to find ways of filling those gaps, repairing the fencing,” she said. “For many of us there’s not really doubt that some kind of physical barrier is necessary.”
Regarding why Republicans and Democrats can’t reach an agreement, Hill thinks it’s “semantics.”
I think the challenge is that we’ve gotten hung up on these semantics, really on both sides and gosh, I can’t tell you how much I’ve come to hate the word ‘wall.’ And I think many of us have because it’s unnecessary. In the campaign President Trump was fixated on this wall and I think we on the Democratic side of the aisle, have such a gut reaction to it because it’s associated with hateful rhetoric, but in reality we need to step back, all of us, step back and say OK, concrete wall two thousands of miles long, never gonna happen. Bad idea. The president has walked that back. Most Republicans have walked it back, but Democrats are for border security, too, and part of that is physical barriers.
Later, Hill reiterated that even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refusing to give any money to “the wall” is “a semantics issue.” She called for President Trump to “stop using federal workers’ lives as a political pawn.”
“Democrats want a lot, too, on this immigration, debate,” said the California congresswoman. “We have things we want to negotiate on, so let’s open it and then let’s go to the table.”