Democrats have always been serious about border security, but they believe President Donald Trump has created a "manufactured crisis" at the nation's southern border, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said Wednesday.
"Democrats have always believed in strong border security, but we want smart border security," Perez told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" anchor Bill Hemmer.
"We should be investing in preventing homegrown terrorism, we should be investing the technologies necessary to combat bad guys. Building a wall is fulfilling a campaign promise. That is not securing our borders."
Hemmer, though, pointed out that Democrats have changed their minds on a wall since Trump took office, with many prominent lawmakers like now-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Sen. Bernie Sanders voting for the border security in 2013 and then Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton voting for it in 2008.
Democrats are ready to pass legislation to reopen the government that would not include wall funding, said Perez, noting the same bills already passed the Senate by a 92-6 vote in December. After that would happen, he said, that would be the time to have an intensive debate on border security.
He further said that terrorists more frequently try to enter the United States through airports, not the southern border, and the TSA could be hindered through a long-lived shutdown.
"When you have a Transportation Security [Administration] officer working the airport right now, they should not be distracted," he told Hemmer, "but when they're worried about their next paycheck, they're distracted. So, Mr. President, open up the federal government."
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