Delaware’s senior senator is weighing in on the partial government shutdown and President Trump’s plan to fund construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border.
Sen. Tom Carper is the former head of the Senate Homeland Security committee.
One area where he agrees with the President is Trump’s depiction of the United States’ southern border as a humanitarian crisis.
Carper says the root cause of the crisis is families fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to seek asylum in the United States, and he blames the violence in those Central American countries on the illegal drug market in the US.
“We are complicit in the misery of the people in those countries,” said Carper. “We need to help.”
Carper says the United States should fund a humanitarian effort for the Northern Triangle countries called Alliance for Prosperity.
“Alliance for Prosperity—let’s fund that, let’s make sure that’s working while we work on our border security,” said Carper. “We can walk and chew gum at the same time in order to relieve the humanitarian crisis at the border, and a big part of that is to address the humanitarian crisis which we have created.”
Carper also supports funding border security. He has previously voted in favor of border fencing but voted against a House measure leading up to the government shutdown that included $5.7 billion for President Trump’s border wall.
Carper calls that plan a waste of resources, noting there are some regions on the Mexican border where additional barriers could effectively deter illegal immigration, but others where he says a wall would not be effective. He also touts alternative security measures like boats, motion detectors, drones and more border agents as being of more utility than a wall in some areas.
“In densely populated areas, a wall makes some sense,” he said. “In some places—the Rio Grande River which stretches for hundreds of miles—where a wall, frankly, just doesn’t make sense.”
The government has been partially shut down now for more than two weeks.