Senator Bernie Sanders (D., Vt.) on Monday said he may be open to demolishing sections of the U.S.–Mexico border wall, as well as halting 99 percent of deportations.
When asked whether he would support tearing down the wall, Sanders responded “I don’t know, maybe the answer is yes,” according to the Washington Post‘s Dave Weigel. “If it’s going to cost me billions of dollars to tear it down, maybe the money would be better spent on child care in this country.“
The senator then indicated his openness to a moratorium on deportations of illegal immigrants.
“If someone has been convicted of a terrible, terrible crime, that might be an exception to the rule,” Sanders said. “A moratorium on 99% of deportations is nothing to sniff at, and I think the undocumented community would be very proud of that.“
Sanders, whose presidential campaign has maintained strong fundraising numbers and the backing of a large portion of the Democratic party’s progressive base, is currently second in the RealClearPolitics average of polls of the race, eight points behind former vice president Joe Biden.
Building the border wall has remained one of President Trump’s top priorities since his 2016 campaign, but progress has been slow: Of the 450 miles of barrier he promised to erect by the end of 2020, so far only 101 miles have been completed. The Trump administration has diverted funds from the Pentagon to construct the wall, following House Democrats’ refusal to include requested funding in the federal budget. The diversion of Pentagon funds has in turn been met with numerous court challenges. Most recently, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, ruled earlier this month that a lower court’s injunction against the unilateral appropriation of funds should be lifted.