Pelosi: Instead of a Wall, Strengthen Ports of Entry

By Melanie Arter | January 10, 2019 | 5:09pm EST
TIJUANA, MEXICO - JANUARY 09: Trucks are lined up to enter the U.S. on the Mexico side of the U.S.-Mexico border barrier on January 9, 2019 in Tijuana, Mexico. President Donald Trump is planning a visit to the southern border in Texas tomorrow. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

( - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday instead of building a wall, the Democrats are proposing strengthening ports of entry by investing in technology to scan cars for drugs, guns, and other contraband.

Pelosi told reporters that what President Donald Trump is proposing is not the best way to protect the border. Furthermore, she said most of the drugs coming into the U.S. come in through ports of entry.

“He talks about drugs coming into the country. Ninety percent of the drugs come in through the ports of entry, so we are proposing is to build the infrastructure of the ports of entry, strengthen that - the ports of entry,” she said.

“Spend the money. It’s hundreds of millions of dollars, but accessible to have the scanning technology to scan cars coming through for drugs, contraband of any kind, weapons even, to repair the roads that facilitate immigration and trade in those regions. The positive shall we say almost technological wall that can be built is what we should be doing,” Pelosi said.

She accused the president of lying about what happened when she and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) met with him at the White House on Wednesday.


“I want to correct the record. He has not told the truth when he said he asked me if in 30 days I would support border security and I said no. He knows -- the people in the room know that that was not what happened. What he said in 30 days will you support a wall, and I said, no. He went out and said something completely different, because he knows we all support border security and that there’s a better way to do it,” she said.

Pelosi said she doesn’t even know if the president wants the wall. “I think he just wants the debate on the wall, and he’s having some difficulty with it,” she said.

When asked whether Democrats would support DACA as part of a deal to reopen the government, Pelosi said, “We haven’t had that discussion.

“What we’re talking about now is just the president’s insistence on the wall. We need to have comprehensive immigration reform. The Democrats and Republicans know that, and that is, that is about Dreamers and their families and the rest. We have said that we’re going to protect the Dreamers. That is very popular in the country. We can do that very quickly,” the speaker said.

“It has Republican support in the Congress and certainly in the country, but comprehensive immigration reform is what this debate should be about, and quite frankly, when the president talks about this being a national security issue, no it really isn’t,” she said. “It’s about a policy that is discriminatory as to where people are coming into this country. So, yeah, absolutely, we stand-- always have stood ready to discuss comprehensive immigration reform and of course the Dreamers.”

When asked whether she is willing to have conversations now about DACA before the government is reopened, Pelosi said, “We have been having conversations.

“We don’t want to be a backdrop for the president to stomp the table and get up and walk out. I think he thought we were going to stay there when he left. He got up. We got up, so we’ve been having these conversations. Our staff all weekend - Saturday, Sunday - have been engaged in these conversations. The president keeps upping the ante. In fact, I said to him, ‘You’re moving the goalposts so many times they’re out of the stadium,’” she said.

When asked whether she has offered several billion dollars for other border security measures if she’s not willing to do a wall, Pelosi said, “Don’t think of this as normal. Don’t think of this as normal, because I say, the goalposts keeps getting moved, but what we did give the president -- the White House is exactly what the Homeland Security asked for in the budget.”


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