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Jeff Merkley Calls For More Border Fencing And Barriers But Says The Wall Is A Racist Symbol

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Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon said more barriers are needed to secure the southern border, then called President Donald Trump’s border wall a “racist symbol,” on CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday.

“I am comfortable with barriers that involve vehicles, fences. There are appropriate places where border guards have convinced me that some additional barriers could be useful,” Merkley said.

“But what I hear, when you separate the border guards from their superiors, what they say is, ‘Look, what we need are sensors to determine if somebody is approaching the border and we need more personnel to be able to respond quickly to intercept them.’ That those are the key two things — there’s nothing magical about a 30-foot wall and, in fact, that has become now a symbol really –a symbol of this administration’s policies,” he said. “And it’s a racist symbol.”

Co-host John Berman followed up on Merkley’s comments about installing barriers along the border and asked him to clarify whether or not he supports some type of wall or fencing.

“You did say that you do think some new wall or new barrier in some places would be okay and you’d be willing to vote for new funding for that?” Berman asked.

“Nothing that I would call a wall am I willing to vote for — I’ve seen some of the border fences. They’re chain link. You can see through them,” Merkley replied. “They slow people down in combination with sensors. People can respond. But anything that is like this vast kind of massive wall that extends 30 feet into the air, whether it’s steel slats, whether it’s concrete, no, absolutely not.”

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