What Are the Candidates Saying About Immigration Reform? Duncan Hunter on Immigration
Republican Presidential candidate Duncan Hunter hails from the California side of the U.S - Mexico border. He has been the California representative of the 52nd district since 1993. Born and raised very close to the border, Hunter has made border control his main legislative priority. He's been pushing for a "fortified border" for his entire career. In fact, there is an entire website dedicated to his efforts to secure the border. Besides advocating for increased military spending, border enforcement issues are the only other issue under which he has made a name for himself.
Since his immigration platform is almost entirely based on increasing enforcement measures, his support last spring for House bill 4437 should come as no surprise. He even worked to add an amendment to the already enforcement-focused legislation for more border fencing. In Duncan Hunter's ideal world, we would build a fence along the entire border.
An interesting side story about Duncan Hunter involves his brother, John Hunter, who, ironically is the leader of an organization called "Water Station Inc." that oversees water stations along the border to prevent migrant deaths during the treacherous crossing. An article in Mother Jones recently highlighted the California congressman's support for his brother's work despite his harsh pro-border control platform. However, despite the fact that his brother's project was born out of the fact that all too often immigrants attempting to cross the border die when forced to divert their route away from the fences and into the desert, Duncan Hunter still supports fencing the border. He has, the article notes, also support his brother's work -- for example, he pushed the Bureau of Land Management to allow Water Station Inc. the right to use public land for their work.
However, despite his awareness of his brother's cause, he still makes statements such as this in support of fencing on the border:
"People would come to the fence, they wouldn't be able to get through, just like people can't get through the double fence here. So if they can't get through and they're deterred from crossing, they're not going to get out into that low desert in California and Arizona where the temperatures rise considerably above a hundred degrees in the summertime."
On Duncan Hunter's own website, his focus on border control is highlighted:
"Having a district located in the California-Mexico border region, Hunter has made border enforcement a major priority. In 1988, Hunter authored legislation making the military the lead agency in illegal drug interdiction and was successful in obtaining military units for building roads and fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico. Over 40 miles of fencing and border infrastructure have been constructed to date. Additionally, Hunter passed legislation in 1995 to authorize an additional 5,000 Border Patrol agents in response to the Clinton Administration's budget which attempted to cut agency resources. Hunter remains committed to sealing the U.S. border to illegal alien and drug trafficking, ensuring that the region remains safe for communities on both sides of the international boundary."
In a move that should not have surprised anyone, he was a co-author and one of the biggest supporters of the Secure Fence Act.
He is one of the primary people to focus on making a connection between immigration and terrorism. He talks about the border as a national security issue quite often.
So, beyond fencing, where does Duncan Hunter stand on immigration? In this interview he calls for border enforcement and then internal enforcement, focusing on the deportation of immigrants convicted of crimes. He also mentions expanding programs for employer verification of employee authorization to work and a national ID card.
Beyond enforcement? I couldn't find anything.
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