WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), joined Melissa Francis on Fox News today to discuss the need to secure the border, emphasizing the best chance for a deal on immigration hinges on it addressing the four pillars of reform: better border security, ending chain migration, eliminating the visa lottery program, and a permanent solution for recipients of President Obama’s temporary Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
In 2013, 54 Senate Democrats voted to build the wall, end the diversity visa lottery, double the number of border agents, and move toward a merit-based immigration system. In 2006, then-Senators Chuck Schumer, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden voted to increase the length of the border wall.
Key excerpts of Cassidy’s remarks are transcribed below.
ON FOCUSING ON THE FOUR PILLARS OF A DEAL
CASSIDY: It is not comprehensive. There’s four pillars that are being focused on and there’s bipartisan agreement on that. The president, who has said that he really wants border security, but he is willing to deal with DACA. So the president, I think, is the one who makes or breaks this. And I think he has the ability to make it. So the left is going to say, ‘oh my gosh, he’s going back on his word.’ No, give him border security and he’s willing to deal, but he’s not going to take a half measure on border security. … I think the only way you get it through is by limiting it to the four pillars, because otherwise it begins to spill out into something which neither right nor left feels as if they can tolerate. If you focus on those four pillars there is a deal to be had.
ON WHETHER DEMOCRATS WILL SUPPORT REAL MONEY FOR BORDER SECURITY
CASSIDY: I notice that Democrats are now speaking about border security once more, if you will, going back to where they were a few years ago. They’re coming back to it, and understanding that it is a quid pro quo. We’ve got to have to have border security. If we have that, then we can address the issue of DACA. … You have to be careful. If they say, ‘we’ll give you $2 billion now and $23 billion in future years,’ well, the check’s in the mail—I don’t believe that.
ON A POSSIBLE WAY TO PAY FOR THE BORDER WALL
CASSIDY: One thing my office is looking at—you know, there’s a lot of supposedly $120 billion in ill-gotten gains that go from the drug trade south of the border. Is there a way to capture a portion of that using a percentage of that to fund the wall? It wouldn’t be the Mexican government funding the wall, it would be the Mexican cartels. And we think that’s a very viable solution; we’re looking into the practicality of it.