Republican lawmakers, making good on President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall along the southern U.S. border, may use Democrats’ past votes and statements on the issue against them.
In 2006, under the George W. Bush administration, Congress passed a bill called the Secure Fence Act, which mandated double-layer fencing from San Diego to the southern tip of Texas. In 2007, through the appropriations process, the language was amended to certify 700 miles of fencing to be required, at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security.
Twenty-six Senate Democrats voted for the measure, including Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.
“Democrats are solidly behind controlling the border, and we support the border fence,” Ms. Feinstein, California Democrat, told the Los Angeles Daily News at the time. “We have to get tough on the border. There’s no question the border is a sieve.”
In a 2006 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mrs. Clinton said: “There isn’t any sensible approach except to do what we need to do simultaneously: you know, secure our borders with technology and personnel, physical barriers if necessary in some places.”
And in pushing for comprehensive immigration reform in 2009, Mr. Schumer praised the Secure Fence Act for making the U.S.-Mexican border less porous.
Republicans on Capitol Hill began Thursday discussing ways to fund the border fence, reportedly trying to sneak it into the appropriations process this spring. That way, Democrats would have to face either voting for the measure or shutting down the federal government.
The funding would be dedicated to an extension of the 2006 bill, where only 35.6 miles of the double-layered fencing was built, because of the amendment to allow DHS officials to build the barriers they thought appropriate.
“There’s already in existing law the authorization for hundreds of miles of build out on the southern border … so, one important step in the right direction will be funding the existing law and beginning the building out of hundreds of miles of wall, or fence, on the southern border,” the House Republican Policy Committee chair, Indiana GOP Rep. Luke Messer, told Politico, which was first to break the news that Republicans may look to extend the 11-year-old law.
“If tied to the rest of government funding, it’s much harder for the Democrats to stop, and by the way, I think it’s much harder for Democrats to vote against it if what you’re doing is authorizing funding for an existing law,” Mr. Messer added.
Sounds like a good way to start on delivering Mr. Trump’s border wall promise.
We’ll leave it to the president-elect to decide how Mexico will reimburse the American taxpayers for their advance.