Hill reiterates border view in Fox interview

Former Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, fields questions from KABC's Amy Powell during a town hall event in Palmdale in January 2019. Austin Dave/The Signal

After Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, said she would support some funding for physical barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border on CNN Friday, the local representative appeared on Fox News Saturday and reiterated previous statements.

“We know that there’s already fencing and other physical barriers across the border in many different places, but there are gaps, and we need to find ways of filling those gaps (and), repairing the fencing,” Hill said during Saturday’s interview with Fox News. “I think, for many of us, there’s not
really doubt that some kind of physical barrier is necessary. I think the challenge is we’ve gotten so hung up on semantics — really on both sides.”

When asked if she had an idea for how much funding or what type of barrier the elected representative would support, Hill said, “That’s the challenge, right? We have to air this out in an open process. We need to hear from the experts on both sides,” and listen to the people who this directly affects.

Hill said her peers on the Democratic side of the aisle have a visceral gut reaction to a wall, “because it’s associated with this sort of hateful rhetoric, but in reality we need to step back — all of us …”

Democrats are for border security, too, she said, “and we know that part of that does include physical barriers,” Hill said. “Democrats want a lot, too, on this immigration debate, regardless of the border security piece. We have the border situation that’s unresolved. We have TPS (temporary protected status) recipients that are desperate. We have real issues around immigration that we’ve been trying (to get) forever, and we have things we want to negotiate on, so let’s open it, then let’s go to the table.”

Hill’s comments come on the heels of an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow on Friday, when Hill said, “I am definitely someone who will vote for a border security package that includes immigration reform,” before adding that she would vote to allocate some funding to physical barriers.
“It’s not going to be across the entire 2,000-mile stretch, and it’s certainly not going to be a concrete wall. But it will be a part of a package,” she said Friday.

Through a statement from her office, Hill clarified that she was referencing a package already voted on by the House of Representatives, which includes repairs for existing fencing and an emphasis on hiring more border patrol agents and caseworkers, as well as new technologies.
“Again, this is a semantics issue more than anything else,” Hill said during the Fox News interview before mentioning the federal workers who have been affected.

“I think we’re in a place where the people who elected us are saying, ‘Don’t give in on this. This isn’t what we elected you for,’ so there’s a place where we have to draw the line,” Hill said. “I think the line that we’re all consistent on as Democrats is, open the government first, then we’ll all talk.”

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