Dem lawmaker on immigration: 'We are not a nation of open borders, we are a nation of rule of law'

Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (D-N.J.) said on Wednesday that the U.S. is “not a nation of open borders” but rather a “nation of the rule of law,” pushing back on claims from President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE and other Republicans that Democrats are the "party of open borders."

“We are not a nation of open borders,” Van Drew told Hill.TV during an interview on "Rising."

“I believe that we are a nation of the rule of law,” he added. “While I am very pro-immigration, it has to be done in an intelligent and thoughtful way.”

Van Drew said that he believes that the U.S. needs to have “safe, intact borders,” which includes an “actual physical border.” He said this might mean adding additional vertical metal struts and fencing along certain parts of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The New Jersey Democrat also called for additional resources and technology.

“I believe we do need to have good, safe intact borders — that includes [an] actual physical border,” the lawmaker said. “It includes technology, it includes more beds, it includes more manpower, it ensures that our nation is safe whether it is from drugs, whether it is from individuals.”

Immigration has become a sticking point between Democrats and Republicans amid an influx of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, specifically along the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

Trump has faced criticism from business leaders, Democrats and even members of his own party over his threats to close the southern border all together in order to address the uptick in border crossings. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAre Democrats turning Trump-like? House Democrat calls for gun control: Cities can ban plastic straws but 'we can't ban assault weapons?' Churches are arming and training congregants in response to mass shootings: report MORE (R-Ky.) warned Tuesday that sealing the border would have a “potentially catastrophic” impact on the economy. Later that same day, Trump appeared to pull back from his threats, claiming that Mexico is now cooperating in apprehending migrants at its southern border.

Van Drew expressed hope that lawmakers will be able to come together on the contentious issue, saying "a lot of people are getting hurt" by not dealing with it.

“We should have an immigration system that is legal, that is safe, that is appropriate and that is humane. We can do this. It requires leadership,” he told Hill.TV.

— Tess Bonn