Gabbard Says She Does Not Support Open Borders and Even Backs Some Physical Barriers

By Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.
September 10, 2019 Updated: September 14, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) said in a recent interview that she doesn’t support open borders and underscored the importance of securing them, a position that’s in sharp contrast to the immigration policies being pushed by other 2020 candidates in her party.

This comes after many Democratic candidates expressed support for decriminalizing illegal border crossings. During the first Democratic presidential primary debate in late June, all but one candidate from the second night showed support for decriminalizing illegal immigration, an indication of the Democratic Party’s position on the issue.

Similarly, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) unveiled a plan in July in a blog post on Medium to repeal a law that makes unauthorized entry into the United States illegal.

During an appearance with the Rubin Report on Sept. 8, host Dave Rubin asked Gabbard about her stance on the issue.

“I don’t support open borders. Without secure borders, we don’t really have a country,” Gabbard told Rubin. “And while some of the other Democratic candidates will say, ‘Well, open borders, that’s a conservative argument and that’s not really what’s being advocated for,’ if you look at some of the practical implications of some of the things they are pushing for, it is essentially open borders.”

Gabbard went on to provide suggestions for immigration reform.

“One is we’ve got to have secure borders. This is not Trump’s wall from sea to shining sea.”

“It’s about seeing again what makes sense. I look at things from a practical, objective-oriented standpoint. I’m a soldier. So I look at what’s our objective: Secure the borders. In some places, it may make the most sense to have a wall or some kind of physical barrier in place. In other places, it won’t make sense. So you use technology and you use all the other tools that you have ultimately to accomplish that objective of security at the borders,” she said.

She said the legal immigration system in the United States isn’t working “for anybody.”

“It’s not working for our economy, it’s not working for our businesses, it’s not working for our farmers, it’s not working for our families,” she said, adding that “our broken legal immigration system is only worsening the problems that we’re having with people who are then coming to this country.

“For those who are seeking asylum in our country, we’re seeing so much of what’s happening at our border because of a severe lack of resources going towards those judges and administrators who are there to adjudicate and take these cases.”

President Donald Trump has made stopping illegal immigration a priority during his two years in office. Federal immigration officials have reported record highs in the apprehension of illegal aliens at the border to Congress this year, saying that the numbers have overwhelmed Border Patrol facilities and resources.

In May, Border Patrol agents apprehended or deemed inadmissible more than 144,000 people crossing from Mexico, but in June the number fell to around 104,000 people after Trump took action against Mexico leading to a deal between the two countries. The number of apprehensions fell to just over 82,000 in July.

The president has repeatedly criticized Democrats for pushing what he perceives as an open-border agenda.

“Despite the Democrats wanting very unsafe Open Borders & refusing to change the Loopholes & Asylum, tremendous progress is being made [at] the Southern Border,” Trump wrote. “We all waited because we assumed the Dems would ultimately be forced to change the horrible Immigration Laws. They didn’t!”

Trevor Loudon, a communism expert and contributor to The Epoch Times, said Democratic lawmakers are pushing an open-border agenda because they are losing their traditional support base, and bringing migrants in could provide “a new supply of dependent voters.”

“The Democratic Party has lost its traditional union, manufacturing Midwestern base. So how do you keep winning? You have to bring new people over the border,” Loudon told The Epoch Times in a previous interview.

“And we know that there are 22 million illegals in the country now, according to M.I.T. [Massachusetts Institute of Technology],” he said. “We know that Hillary Clinton promised to give them more citizenship and voting rights within 100 days of taking office.”

Loudon said the Democrats’ agenda could give them an extra “16, 17, 18 million new potential voters overnight.”

“You can see what an advantage to the Democratic Party that would be,” he said.

Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.