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Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Monday he would be open to tearing down existing barriers at the U.S.-Mexico border if the demolition didn’t cost too much, according to Vice News.
When he was first asked the question during the 2020 Brown & Black Democratic Presidential Forum, he seemed to try to avoid directly answering.
“You said the wall is symbolic, so wouldn’t it be proper to tear that symbol down in order to achieve that?” asked Vice News’ Alzo Slade.
“It may be, but how much is it going to cost to tear it down?” Sanders replied. “Should you do that, tear it down? I don’t know, maybe the answer is yes.”
David Noriega pressed the issue, asking Sanders to clarify: “That’s something you’re willing to consider; you’re willing to consider tearing down existing fencing between the U.S. and Mexico?”
“Yeah, you do,” Sanders replied. “But if it’s going to cost me billions of dollars to tear it down, I’d rather invest that money in the needs of childcare in this country. But it’s something we can look at.”
Sanders, who had previously said he would put a moratorium on all deportations as president, revised that to say he would only pause 99 percent of deportations — making an exception for violent criminals.
Sanders has tried to push back against people who claim he and other Democrats support open border policies.
“What we need is comprehensive immigration reform,” Sanders said in April. “If you open the borders, my God, there’s a lot of poverty in this world, and you’re going to have people from all over the world. And I don’t think that’s something that we can do at this point. Can’t do it. So that is not my position.”
Sanders wants to reinstate and expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, stop most deportations until the process can be audited, and end the policy requiring asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while waiting for their cases to be heard. He also favors decriminalizing illegal border crossing.