Border fix next, members of Arkansas congressional delegation say; shutdown’s end seen as ‘promising step’
Written by: Frank Lockwood
Published by: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
After Thursday’s meeting, Boozman had voted for a funding bill that included $5.7 billion for Trump’s border wall project.
In Friday’s written statement, Boozman reiterated his support for tougher border security.
“We must provide the funds for increased manpower, technology and infrastructure — including roads for access, electronic devices for surveillance and fencing for deterrence. These measures will help reduce the number of illegal immigrants coming across our border in addition to combatting drug and human trafficking,” he said.
He urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to work with President Donald Trump in the coming days.
“Let’s come together to reach a consensus that puts the interests of our nation first,” Boozman said.
Sen. Tom Cotton of Dardanelle had opposed the White House-backed spending plan Thursday, arguing that it aided illegal aliens without securing the border and fixing the immigration system.
He nonetheless welcomed signs that the shutdown was ending.
“I’m glad to see the government reopen for the sake of the Arkansans who’ve been negatively impacted,” he said.
Any border security package “ought to include new physical barriers — something Democrats have supported in the past,” Cotton said. “I hope during the coming weeks they will honor their commitment to negotiate in good faith so that we can secure our borders and begin to fix our immigration laws.”
House members from Arkansas expressed hope that the deadlock has ended.
“I support the President’s calls to open the government, ensure government employees are paid, and continue working diligently with experts at the Department of Homeland Security to address the national security challenges on our southern border as expeditiously, efficiently, and effectively as possible,” said U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford of Jonesboro.
U.S. Rep. French Hill of Little Rock called Friday’s announcement “an important step towards ending the government shutdown.”
“Shutting down the government should never be a solution to a political problem, and I am confident that the president and members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, will find a practical solution that will protect Arkansas families and secure our southwest border,” Hill said. “This should include continuing the 25-year policy of building a physical barrier where needed, upgrading our screening and surveillance technology, and increasing border agents and immigration judges.”
U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman of Hot Springs urged lawmakers to “put party politics aside and solve the crisis.”
“House Speaker Pelosi, [Minority] Leader [U.S. Sen. Charles] Schumer, [D-N.Y.] and other Democrats have said for weeks that they would only come to the negotiating table once the government was reopened. The president has now given them the opportunity to fulfill that promise,” Westerman said.
U.S. Rep. Steve Womack said he is “encouraged” that a deal ending the shutdown has been reached, suggesting the bargaining had been possible “now that Democrats have agreed to get serious about negotiating.”
“Over the next few weeks, both parties have the opportunity to work together and reach a long-term agreement. President Trump has shown a great willingness to compromise — I hope Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are capable of doing the same,” the Republican from Rogers said, adding, “I remain committed to fully funding the government and securing our border.”