U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.
Republican presidential hopeful Duncan Hunter is blasting a Democrat-sponsored bill that would eliminate the requirement passed by Congress to build a double-layered fence covering 854 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.
“By eliminating the double fence requirement, the Democratic Congress is going to make it easier for drug and human smugglers to cross our Southern land border,” said Hunter. “This goes against the interests of any family that has been touched by illegal drugs or any American who has seen their job taken by an illegal alien.”
The Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations bill would specifically eliminate the mandate of the Secure Fence Act of 2006.
As WND reported last week, an amendment submitted by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and co-sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, for the Department of Homeland Security 2008 budget was aimed at gutting the already-approved Secure Fence Act, which was adopted with the promise hundreds of miles of physical fencing would help secure the U.S. border with Mexico.
The Hutchison amendment allows the secretary of homeland security to use discretion in deciding whether a fence was the most appropriate means to achieve and maintain operational control along the border with Mexico.
DHS is on record as preferring in many instances the construction of “pedestrian fences” or “virtual fences” instead of double-layered barriers as required in the 2006 law.
“The Hutchison amendment gives DHS virtually total discretion over how and where the fence is built,” said Steve Elliott, president of the activist group Grassfire.org.
He explained the DHS would not be required to build fencing in any particular location and the double-layer mandate would be “totally gone.”
“I find it odd that such an important amendment which releases DHS from specific requirements of an existing law would be passed by a simple voice vote in the Senate and then buried in the massive omnibus bill,” Elliott said.
“The American people reasonably expect that a double-layer fence will be built, but Congress has always had other plans,” he argued. “This amendment should be stripped from the bill.”
“The success of the San Diego Border Fence demonstrates the overall effectiveness of the double-layered approach and the importance of extending this infrastructure across our southern land border,” Hunter said.
“Pulling back from the double-fence mandate is a prescription for failure that will only allow more smugglers, criminals and illegal aliens to enter the United States through our land border with Mexico,” the California congressman added.
“If enacted,” Hunter concluded, “this legislation would represent a significant step backwards in the effort to secure our borders.”
Grassfire.org is running a campaign to encourage citizens to fax Congress to demand “the fence be built as promised.”