Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) encouraged fellow Democrats to “engage” in talks about the border as the immigration crisis in the United States continues.
Fetterman’s comments come as he has faced increased criticism regarding his support of Israel in the aftermath of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, which left pmore than 1,400 people dead and more than 200 people taken as hostages.
“I hope Democrats can understand that it isn’t xenophobic to be concerned about the border,” Fetterman told the outlet. “It’s a reasonable conversation, and Democrats should engage.”
Fetterman "cited the nearly 270,000 border encounters that U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported in September…'You essentially have Pittsburgh showing up there at the border.'" https://t.co/1MbwiFu6De— Charles McElwee (@CFMcElwee) December 7, 2023
“Honestly, it’s astonishing,” Fetterman added. “And this isn’t a Fox News kind of statistic. This is the government’s. You essentially have Pittsburgh showing up there at the border.”
Fetterman’s remarks come after Senate Republicans blocked a $111 billion supplemental funding bill requested by President Joe Biden. Included in the bill was funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, and funding to increase security at the border.
Republicans have said the are determined to withhold aid to Ukraine until Biden addresses and implements changes to immigration and border security policies.
While Fetterman did not provide specifics on how he would negotiate with Republicans to not “paint” himself “into a corner,” he added that he would not support legislation that put “Dreamers” in harm’s way.
Dreamers are people who have grown up in the U.S., identify as Americans, may only speak English, and may not remember their birth country. A majority of Dreamers claim that they had no knowledge that they were illegal immigrants until they became a teenager, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Fetterman’s wife, Gisele, was reportedly a Dreamer who immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 7 and became a U.S. citizen in 2009.
In a campaign video, Fetterman highlighted his wife’s history, sharing that he was “proud” of Gisele’s “origin story” and was “grateful for the sacrifices that her mother made.”
“I’m proud of my wife, Gisele’s origin story and I’m so grateful for the sacrifices that her mother made all those years ago to come to this country looking for a better life,” Fetterman said in his video. “If they didn’t, I wouldn’t have the incredible family that I have now and the partner I have in Gisele.”