Jones changes tune on immigration, admits border ‘crisis’
In an interview with “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning, Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) appeared to do a complete 180 turn on his public stance regarding immigration and border security.
Jones has previously said of the border situation, “I don’t think it rises to the level of a national emergency.”
Just this spring, Alabama’s junior senator even voted in favor of terminating President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration related to securing the United States’ border with Mexico and addressing the humanitarian crisis that has resulted from an influx of illegal aliens and asylum seekers recently.
Jones has opposed building the wall on the border and even has spoken up for counting illegal aliens in the 2020 U.S. Census. However, he now seems to be changing his tune with his 2020 reelection bid quickly approaching, if his Tuesday interview is any indication.
Speaking with cohost Brian Kilmeade, Jones kicked off his Fox News segment by calling the situation at the border a “crisis.”
“We are overwhelmed at the border,” he said. “It is a crisis. It’s a humanitarian crisis that we’ve got to take some action on for sure.”
The comments came after Kilmeade noted that President Donald Trump’s administration is instituting a new policy to expedite certain deportations.
Jones subsequently said that he wants the United States to work with Central American countries on how they can incentivize their citizens from leaving home.
“I don’t think a lot of these people really want to leave their home countries,” he outlined. “These are families, they’re children, and I think we need to try to help those countries, as well as do the other things to try to just alleviate the overwhelming number of people that are coming across, or attempting to come across, the border.”
Kilmeade referenced a bipartisan letter Jones in recent days sent to the president, along with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), before asking him his thoughts on DHS’s new policy to deport some illegal aliens before they get a hearing.
“You know, that’s one area that I think they can look at,” Jones answered, ducking a direct answer.
Then, Jones implied that the Trump administration is not tough on bad actors among the American population of illegal aliens.
“I will tell you, Brian, what I really wish to see out of the administration: I wish they’d see some more emphasis on the criminal element that is in this country illegally,” Jones added.
“I think we need to prioritize,” Jones continued, before being cut off by the perplexed host.
“Now that’s what ICE is doing, senator,” Kilmeade responded. “That’s what ICE is doing. That was the priority [in recent ICE raids].”
“I don’t think that they (ICE) are,” Jones claimed. “I don’t think that the administration’s plan last week, which was just broad sweeps…prioritized [that].”
.@DougJones on immigration then and now:
Then: the wall, emergency declaration are “all political posturing”https://t.co/CA2PIscBxG
Now in reelection mode: I wish the administration would focus on criminals in the country illegally.
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) July 23, 2019
Kilmeade soon came back to asking for clarification on Jones’ noncommittal answer regarding the administration’s new deportation policy, asking if Jones would back the administration or liberal organizations like the ACLU who have already come out in opposition.
“You know, look, we sent this letter last week — it was not just me and Manchin and Sinema. There were four or five Republicans on there as well,” Jones replied, again not making a commitment either way on the deportation policy.
However, he did elaborate more on what the bipartisan letter advocates for, which is essentially a pilot program that would speed up the “credible threat” assessment that is made in each asylum application using existing laws.
“A lot of people coming across this border are obviously trying to game the system,” Jones admitted. “We don’t want to see that happening.”
Later in the interview, Kilmeade pressed Jones on a radical immigration proposal by another prominent member of his party.
Former Obama HUD secretary and 2020 presidential candidate Julian Castro has come out for decriminalizing crossing the border into the country illegally.
The host asked Jones if he would push back on that proposal.
“Sure, I’ll push back on that,” Jones said. “I don’t agree with all of that. I think we have to have some sanctions for crossing the border illegally.”
“I think we’re in the middle of a political campaign, and it’s just like the president said during his campaign that he was going to get Mexico to pay for a wall — that’s more of, it was not something that was ever going to happen. I would push back on a lot of that,” Jones concluded. “I’m not for open borders, never have been. And I think the majority of Democrats overwhelmingly are not for open borders.”
It is not just Castro that has come out for repealing criminal penalties for people apprehended while crossing the border illegally. According to The Washington Post, Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), along with the likes of South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg, also hold that position.
Additionally, all Democratic candidates at the most recent primary debate raised their hands in support of providing free healthcare to all illegal aliens. Leading candidates have also advocated for a no-deportation policy for all illegal aliens that have not committed another crime after entering the country, as well as a pathway to citizenship for these individuals, which would seem to incentivize more and more illegal aliens coming to the United States.
Watch Jones’ interview here or below:
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn