WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), recently sat down with The Epoch Times’ Jan Jekielek to discuss the crisis at America’s southern border for the video series “American Thought Leaders.”
Asked about those who claim it’s a “manufactured crisis,” Dr. Cassidy responded, “if you’re somebody whose son, daughter, spouse died from a fentanyl overdose, maybe it’s not so good. I would also add, if you’re a child from Central America who’s being trafficked because you’re brought here by a coyote, it’s not so good. So maybe it depends upon your perspective: [if you’re] wealthy [and] behind a wall, [you say it’s] ‘manufactured.’ Tattered safety net, being trafficked, son died of drugs; it is a crisis.”
Cassidy explained the legislation he introduced to secure the border and make drug cartels pay for it, and slammed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for blocking a compromise despite many rank-and-file Democrats expressing support for more physical barriers.
Key excerpts of Dr. Cassidy’s remarks are transcribed below.
CASSIDY: [E]ven though Democratic negotiators apparently are open to money for protection, for barriers, Ms. Pelosi is still dug in. So the president clearly has signaled a willingness to compromise. Democratic negotiators have signaled a willingness to find common ground. It is Ms. Pelosi who is the outlier, who is kind of, “no we cannot.” She would rather another government shutdown and/or drugs continuing to come across our border at the rate they are, then coming up with something which has been adopted by multiple presidential administrations, which is that barriers work.
JEKIELEK: What do you think the issue is with that?
CASSIDY: I can’t speak for her of course but I can imagine. There is a wing of the Democratic Party which is truly for an open border and wishes to abolish ICE. And they see nothing wrong with the entirety of the rest of the world pouring across that border. … And the idea that people seriously talked about abolishing ICE is just absurd. They’ve never been to McAllen, Texas, to see that which I’ve seen, which is the confiscated drugs, guns and money.
JEKIELEK: The president has called, during the State of the Union, this whole situation actually a moral issue. What are your thoughts on that?
CASSIDY: Again, I’ll go back to an earlier exchange we had. If you’re a working-class family, and the social safety net is tattered, and there’s school systems which are overburdened with teachers who are underpaid relative to the number of students they see, etc., maybe you feel as if your jobs are being, your wage base is being undercut—aren’t you upset? Shouldn’t you be upset? If your standard of living is less so your child goes to a school which is not quite as good? Your marriage has more tension because money is tighter? Shouldn’t we be upset? Can we perceive that as a moral issue? I think we can. It’s a basic issue of fairness.