Durbin: Technology, 'not some God-awful concrete wall,' will help stop illegal drugs

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinDemocrats seek to avoid internal disputes over Russia and China Schumer steps on the gas to move Biden agenda Demand Justice launches ad campaign backing Biden nominee who drew GOP pushback MORE (D-Ill.) pledged Democratic support Thursday for increased technological defense systems along the U.S.-Mexico border but pledged that Democrats would not support "some God-awful concrete wall" as President TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE has requested.

In an interview with CNN, the senator said that "bargaining is underway" between members of the House and Senate working on an immigration and border security compromise in the hopes of averting a second government shutdown, but added that the consensus in the room was that a concrete barrier was not necessary.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I think the bargaining is underway, we understand the parameters of what we have to decide. The briefing yesterday I think made it clear that there are things much more important than this president's almighty wall," Durbin said.

"Stopping, slowing down the flow of narcotics during the worst drug epidemic in our history, to me, is our highest priority. That requires technology. Not some god-awful concrete wall," he added.

Durbin's comments come a day after he told The Hill that it was possible Democrats would support some construction of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, but not a concrete barrier.

“The president started off with some grandiose, concrete wall, sea to shining sea, paid for by Mexico, and implanted that image in people's mind,” the senator said Wednesday. “[But] it's not beyond the realm of possibility that we're going build some more fencing in some place."

Lawmakers are facing a Feb. 15 deadline, after which the federal government will partially shut down again barring the passage of a funding bill by Congress. It's unclear whether the White House will stick to its previous demand for more than $5 billion for the construction of a barrier along the border in any bill to fund the government.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse approves bill to ease passage of debt limit hike Ocasio-Cortez: 'Embarrassment' that Democratic leaders are delaying Boebert punishment Overnight Health Care — Biden mandate faces Dem resistance MORE (D-Calif.) has pledged to support whatever deal the bipartisan panel of House and Senate negotiators settle upon at the end of their talks.

“I spoke with Sen. Shelby. I told him whatever you all come to agreement on, bipartisan agreement, I will support,” Pelosi said, referring to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyHouse approves bill to ease passage of debt limit hike McConnell faces GOP pushback on debt deal Senate leaders face pushback on tying debt fight to defense bill MORE (R-Ala.). “I hope that the administration would have the same attitude and respect for the appropriations process.”