(CNSNews.com) -- House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that the U.S.-Mexico border "needs to be more secure" but he does not support funding for any type of border wall, a policy supported by the president and most Republicans. Hoyer added that he and Democrats support more "tactical" initiatives, such as hiring more border agents.
At the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, CNSNews.com asked Hoyer if he believed the border was already secure, considering that the 2020 fiscal bill for the Department of Homeland Security was approved by the House Appropriation Committee with no funding for “new physical barriers.”
Hoyer said, “We are very strongly in favor of border security. We believe there are a lot of tactical means that would make it more secure. It needs to be more secure.”
“We don’t believe the wall, as so many Republicans, including Senator Cornyn (R-Texas), didn’t think the wall was a good idea,” said Hoyer. “He might think it is a good idea now that the president has continued to push it.”
Hoyer further said there is a need to make the border secure, but that talking about Homeland Security is not the same as talking about a border wall.
“We need to make the border secure; we are prepared and have invested money to do exactly that,” Hoyer said. “Including support, the increase of border agents over the years, so we think it needs to be secure. We are for border security.”
On Feb. 15, 2019, President Donald Trump declared the situation at the southern border a national emergency, and then vetoed a resolution by congressional Democrats to “reject the national emergency declaration.”
“The current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency,” Trump said in a statement.
Although the bill (HR2931]) for the 2020 fiscal year states that, “no Federal funds may be used for the construction of physical barriers along the southern land border of the United States,” it also says “$285,104,000 is for the criminal alien program, and $475,471,000 is for the transportation and removal program.”
According to the bill, “of the total amount made available under ‘‘U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Operations and Support, around $3,930,966,000 is for Enforcement and Removal Operations, which includes detentions and “related care of single adult aliens in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”