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Durbin: Better Ways To Enhance Border Security Than Walls

Jeff Smudde
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin talks with the McLean County Farm Bureau in Bloomington Friday, Feb. 1, 2019.

The congressional committee tasked with reaching a deal on border security met for the first time last week. They have 11 days before President Trump’s threat to shutdown the government is realized yet again.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin sits on the committee. He said Trump didn’t like the Democratic proposal that lacked funding for the president’s border wall. But Durbin said that’s only the start of negotiations.

“We have very limited time, something like eight or nine days, to do this. Actual days to work. So I'm hoping that we can roll up our sleeves and do it,” Durbin said while visiting Bloomington on Friday. “This is solvable. This can be done. We definitely don't need another government shutdown at all. It was too damaging to the economy, and certainly unfair to the 800,000 federal workers.”

Durbin said the primary point of conflict on the deal is how much funding should go to the wall. Despite tensions, he is hopeful that a compromise will be met.

The Illinois Democrat says he wants to see all vehicles X-rayed at the border rather than spending over $5 billion on a border wall.

And more, Durbin said he wants cars crossing south from the U.S. into Mexico checked, too.

“We're taking weaponry, guns, from gun shows in America, giving them to the cartels in Mexico and Central America,” the senator said. “And we wonder why they're taking over countries? We're arming them and sending them drug money to pay for the bullets.”

Durbin said only 17 percent of cars are stopped to be X-rayed at the border. He wants that number to be 100 percent.

The Process

To reach a solution, Durbin said both parties will present a funding proposal. Negotiations pick up from there until a solution is met. If there is an issue where a compromise cannot be met, it moves up to the next level.

“Those are kicked upstairs. They go up to the leadership that decide what what the outcome will be. In this case, upstairs is not just congressional leadership, but the president,” Durbin said. “So that poison pill, particularly the amount of money to be spent on border walls, for example, is likely to be decided at a different level.”

Durbin calls issues unable to be resolved by Congress “poison pills.”

Other than the specifics on funding the border wall, Durbin said every other issue is likely to reach a compromise in committee. He said his hope is to put an end to government shutdowns.

Durbin was in town Friday talking with the McLean County Farm Bureau.

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