The stalemate between President Trump and Democrats in Congress over funding for a border wall continues as the shutdown continued Tuesday after dragging on nearly a month.
Did top Democrats support border wall funding in previous years? That’s a question viewer K. Ballew sent in to KHOU’s Verify team.
Most of the existing barriers between the U.S. and Mexico have been built since 2006, when Congress passed the Secure Fence Act of 2006. Lawmakers okayed $1.4 billion to build about 700 miles of pedestrian and vehicle fencing, checkpoints, lighting and technology.
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, current Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and 22 other Democratic senators voted for the bill. Most Democrats in the House, including current speaker Nancy Pelosi, voted against it.
However, there are differences with President Trump’s current wall proposal. The wall he is proposing is taller than the existing fence, and plans for its materials, cost and funding source keep changing.
Since the fence went up following the 2006 vote, the Border patrol says the number of people caught illegally crossing into the country annually has decreased sharply, from 1,071,972 in fiscal year 2006 to 303,916 in FY 17. That’s one reason why Democrats believe the president’s proposed wall isn’t the best immigration control method.
KHOU can verify that several top Democrats have supported a physical barrier on the border in the past. However, but the political context has changed, and the President’s proposed wall is different from past plans.