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Dems Border Brouhaha

- January 4, 2018

Democrats Supported A Barrier On The Southern Border, But Now With President Trump In Office, They're Against A Border Wall


TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • The Boston Globe headline: "In 2006, Democrats were saying 'build that fence!'"
  • The Secure Fence Act of 2006, which enabled President Trump to issue an executive order building a barrier on the Southern border, was "bipartisan and overwhelmingly supported" in Congress.
  • Democratic Senators who have criticized President Trump's border wall, including Senators Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Sherrod Brown, Ron Wyden, and Bill Nelson, all voted for the Secure Fence Act in 2006.
    • Senator Dianne Feinstein said in 2006 that "Democrats are solidly behind controlling the border, and we support the border fence."
    • Then-Rep. Sherrod Brown's spokesman in 2006 called the Secure Fence Act "one of the few opportunities members have to vote for increased security measures."
  • Then-Senators Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton, all of whom voted in favor of giving the President the power to build a border barrier, have now conveniently changed their position and oppose President Trump's proposed border wall.
    • Then-Senator Obama in 2006 stated that the Secure Fence Act will provide "better fences and better security along our borders" and "help stem some of the tide of illegal immigration in this country."
    • Secretary Clinton in 2015 defended her vote saying "I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in" and added "I do think that you have to control your borders."

SEVERAL TOP DEMOCRATIC LEADERS THAT HAVE CRITICIZED PRESIDENT TRUMP'S BORDER WALL VOTED TO GIVE THE PRESIDENT THE POWER TO BUILD THE WALL IN 2006

The Secure Fence Act Of 2006 Gives President Trump The Authority To Build A Wall On The Southern Border

In January 2017, President Trump Issued An Executive Order Which Would Expedite The Building Of A Wall On The Southern Border. "President Donald Trump ordered stepped-up deportations and a rapid start on building a wall on the border with Mexico, as he worked to make good on the promised immigration crackdown that powered his presidential campaign. Taken together, the executive orders announced Wednesday-along with another set expected Thursday-sharply recast U.S. immigration policy." (Laura Meckler, "Trump Orders Wall At Mexican Border," The Wall Street Journal , 1/25/17)

President Trump Has The Authority To Start Construction On A Border Wall Under The Secure Fence Act Of 2006, Which Was "Bipartisan And Overwhelmingly Supported" In Congress. "A law already exists that experts say gives Trump the authority to start building the wall. It is the Secure Fence Act of 2006. It was bipartisan and overwhelmingly supported during the Bush administration. The 2006 law envisions both physical barriers and high-tech features, like sensors and cameras. It also mentions a two-layer fence - but that fence was never built, and the legislation didn't include money to pay for one. Ten years later, the process could begin in earnest." (Bill Chappell, Tamara Keith, and Merrit Kennedy, "'A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation': Trump Moves Forward With U.S.-Mexico Wall," NPR , 1/25/17)

The Law "Authorized The Construction Of 700 Miles-Plus Of Physical Barrier" Along The Southern Border. "Republican leaders, in tandem with Trump's transition staff, are considering using a 2006 law signed by former President George W. Bush that authorized the construction of 700 miles-plus of 'physical barrier' on the southern border. The law was never fully implemented and did not include a sunset provision, allowing Trump to pick up where Bush left off - with the help of new money from Congress." (Rachel Bade and John Bresnahan, "House GOP, Trump Team Hatch Border Wall Plan," Politico , 1/5/17)

Prominent Senate Democrats, Including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, All Voted For The Secure Fence Act

The Boston Globe Headline: "In 2006, Democrats Were Saying 'Build That Fence!'" (Annie Linksey, "In 2006, Democrats Were Saying 'Build That Fence!'" The Boston Globe , 1/27/17)

  • Previously, "Democrats Were More Than Willing To Offer Big Sums Of Taxpayer Money To Keep Mexicans And Other Latino Immigrants Out Of The United States." "The episode shows how concerns over border security occupied Washington well before Trump made it the centerpiece of his candidacy, and that Democrats were more than willing to offer big sums of taxpayer money to keep Mexicans and other Latino immigrants out of the United States." (Annie Linksey, "In 2006, Democrats Were Saying 'Build That Fence!'" The Boston Globe , 1/27/17)

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Voted In Favor Of The Secure Fence Act Of 2006. (H.R. 6061, Roll Call Vote #262: Adopted 80-19; R 54-1, D 26-17, I 0-1, 9/26/06, Schumer Voted Yea)

  • In A November 2016 Interview, Senator Schumer Said "We're Not Going To Help Him Build His Wall." SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): "We're not going to help him build his wall. We have a comprehensive immigration reform bill that builds in much tougher border security and it had bipartisan support than he's ever called for." (MSNBC's " Meet The Press ," 11/20/16)

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) Voted In Favor Of The Secure Fence Act Of 2006. (H.R. 6061, Roll Call Vote #262: Adopted 80-19; R 54-1, D 26-17, I 0-1, 9/26/06, Wyden Voted Yea)

  • Senator Wyden Has Been Critical Of Trump's Proposed Border Wall. "The border wall -- and who will pay for it -- has already drawn fire from Democrats. 'The bottom line here is this is another divisive policy and it's another polarizing policy,' Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.'" (Margaret Talev and Jennifer Jacobs, "Trump Advances Border Wall to Start Broad Immigration Crackdown," Bloomberg , 1/24/17)

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) Voted In Favor Of The Secure Fence Act Of 2006. (H.R. 6061, Roll Call Vote #262: Adopted 80-19; R 54-1, D 26-17, I 0-1, 9/26/06, Nelson Voted Yea)

  • Senator Nelson Criticized President Trump's Executive Order To Build A Wall On The U.S.-Mexico Border, Calling It A "Political Issue." "Criticized Trump's executive order to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and an expected order to control immigration more tightly. On building the wall, he said, 'there a mulitiplicity of things that can be done to protect our borders. This, unfortunately, has gotten into a political issue, and one particular demographic group is being singled out and, I think, unfairly.'" (Richard Danielson, "Sen. Bill Nelson: Trump Off To 'Rocky' Start; Should Invest In Infrastructure," Tampa Bay Times , 1/25/17)

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Voted In Favor Of The Secure Fence Act Of 2006. (H.R. 6061, Roll Call Vote #262: Adopted 80-19; R 54-1, D 26-17, I 0-1, 9/26/06, Feinstein Voted Yea)

  • Senator Feinstein In 2006: "Democrats Are Solidly Behind Controlling The Border, And We Support The Border Fence." "'Democrats are solidly behind controlling the border, and we support the border fence,' Feinstein said." (Lisa Friedman, "Border Fence Goes To Vote," Pasadena [California] Star-News , 9/20/06)
  • In 2017, Feinstein Said She "Couldn't Be More Disappointed" That President Trump Was Following Through On His Promise To Build A Border Wall. "'I couldn't be more disappointed that President Trump has used his first budget proposal to prioritize the border wall-his pet project-and a deportation force over critical support for state and local law enforcement.'" (Press Release, "Feinstein: Trump Budget Puts Border Wall Ahead Of Local Law Enforcement," Senator Dianne Feinstein , 3/16/17)

Then-Representative Sherrod Brown (D-OH) Voted In Favor Of The Secure Fence Act Of 2006. (H.R. 6061, Roll Call Vote #446: Adopted 283-138, R 219-6, D 64-131, I 0-1, NV 10, 9/14/06, Brown Voted Yea)

  • In 2006, A Spokeswoman For Senator Brown Said He Voted For The Secure Fence Act Because It Was "One Of The Few Opportunities" He Had "To Vote For Increased Security Measures." "So Brown decided that he would vote for a bill that he regards as only a small step, she added. 'Last week's 'legislation is not nearly what we should be doing to better secure our communities -- but clearly is one of the few opportunities members have to vote for increased security measures under this do-nothing Republican Congress and why Sherrod voted for the amendment,' Kuebler said." ("GOP Rips Brown For Voting To Pass Its Border-Fence Bill," The Columbus [Ohio] Dispatch, 9/17/06)
  • In 2017, Senator Brown Called A Border Wall "Ludicrous." SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): "I think the border wall is ludicrous." (MSNBC's " Meet The Press ," 8/27/17)

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Voted In Favor Of The Secure Fence Act Of 2006. (H.R. 6061, Roll Call Vote #262: Adopted 80-19; R 54-1, D 26-17, I 0-1, 9/26/06, Stabenow Voted Yea)

  • Senator Stabenow, Along With Other Democratic Senators, Wrote A Letter To The House Appropriations Committee Opposing The Allocation Of Funds For Construction Of The Border Wall. " Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer of New York, Patty Murray of Washington, Richard Durbin of Illinois, Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan have written a letter to the appropriations committee outlining their opposition to the plan." (Brandi Buchman, "House Committee Allocates $1.6 Billion For Trump Border Wall," Court House News , 7/13/17)

Then-Senators Obama, Clinton, And Biden All Supported The Secure Fence Act Of 2006, Now Oppose President Trump's Proposal To Build A Wall

Then-Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) Voted In Favor Of The Secure Fence Act Of 2006. (H.R. 6061, Roll Call Vote #262: Adopted 80-19; R 54-1, D 26-17, I 0-1, 9/26/06, Obama Voted Yea)

  • In 2006, Senator Obama Said "Better Fences And Better Security Along Our Borders" Would "Help Stem Some Of The Tide Of Illegal Immigration In This Country." " 'The bill before us will certainly do some good,' Obama said on the Senate floor in October 2006. He praised the legislation, saying it would provide 'better fences and better security along our borders' and would 'help stem some of the tide of illegal immigration in this country.'" (Annie Linksey, "In 2006, Democrats Were Saying 'Build That Fence!'" Boston Globe , 1/27/17)

Click To Watch (05:34:41 - 05:34:46)

  • Senator Obama Criticized Trump's Proposal To Build A Wall On The U.S.-Mexico Border In A Statement During Mexican President Pena Nieto's Visit To The U.S. "Hours after Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for president with a vow to seal the U.S.-Mexico border, the man he's seeking to replace welcomed the Mexican president to the White House. President Barack Obama repeatedly derided Trump's proposal to build a wall across the southern U.S. border in a news conference Friday with his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Pena Nieto, and instead celebrated what he said was a close, effective relationship between the North American neighbors." (Angela Greiling Keane and Eric Martin, "Obama Knocks Trump's Wall During Timely Visit By Mexican Leader," Bloomberg , 7/22/16)

Then-Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) Voted In Favor Of The Secure Fence Act Of 2006. (H.R. 6061, Roll Call Vote #262: Adopted 80-19; R 54-1, D 26-17, I 0-1, 9/26/06, Biden Voted Yea)

  • In January 2017, Senator Biden Said That Building Walls "Is Precisely The Wrong Answer," Alluding To President Trump's Plan To Build A Wall Along The U.S.-Mexico Border. "'The impulse to hunker down, shut the gates, build walls, and exit at this moment is precisely the wrong answer,' Biden said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, according to prepared remarks. 'It offers a false sense of security in an interconnected world.'" ("Biden Implicitly Slams Trump: Building Walls 'Is Precisely The Wrong Answer,'" Politico , 1/18/17)

Click To Watch (00:00:22 - 00:00:30)

Then-Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) Voted In Favor Of The Secure Fence Act Of 2006. (H.R. 6061, Roll Call Vote #262: Adopted 80-19; R 54-1, D 26-17, I 0-1, 9/26/06, Clinton Voted Yea)

  • In 2015, Senator Clinton Bragged That She "Voted Numerous Times" To Spend Money To Build A Barrier, Adding That "You Do Have To Control Your Borders." "'I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in,' Clinton said at November 2015 town hall in New Hampshire, 'and I do think that you have to control your borders.'" (Annie Linksey, "In 2006, Democrats Were Saying 'Build That Fence!'" Boston Globe , 1/27/17)

Click To Watch

  • Senator Clinton Called President Trump's Plan To Build A Wall On The U.S.-Mexico Border A "Fantasy." "Univision moderator Maria Elena Salinas asked Clinton how Trump's plans to build a wall along the Southern border of the US is different from Clinton's support, while she was a US senator, for a barrier to prevent illegal immigration. 'It's a big difference,' Clinton said. 'First of all, as I understand him, he's talking about a very tall wall, right?' She continued mocking the wall: 'A beautiful, tall wall. The most beautiful, tall, wall, better than the Great Wall of China, that would run the entire border, that he would somehow magically get the Mexican government to pay for. And, you know, it's just fantasy.'" (Pamela Engel, "Hillary Clinton Extensively Mocks Donald Trump's Border Wall," Business Insider , 3/9/16)

MANY OTHER DEMOCRATS WHO NOW OPPOSE PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PROPOSAL TO BUILD A WALL VOTED IN FAVOR OF THE SECURE FENCE ACT IN 2006

Several Democrats Who Now Oppose Building A Wall Voted For The Secure Fence Act In 2006

Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) Voted In Favor Of The Secure Fence Act Of 2006. (H.R. 6061, Roll Call Vote #262: Adopted 80-19; R 54-1, D 26-17, I 0-1, 9/26/06, Carper Voted Yea)

  • In 2017, Senator Carper Introduced A Bill To Rescind President Trump's Executive Order To Construct A Border Wall. "U.S. Senator Tom Carper, senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced legislation to rescind President Trump's executive order to construct a border wall and ramp up deportations and detentions of undocumented immigrants." (Press Release, "Carper Introduces Bill To Rescind President Trump's Executive Order To Construct Border Wall, Ramp Up Deportations And Detentions, Senator Tom Carper , 3/16/17)

Representative Michael Capuano (D-MA) Voted In Favor Of The Secure Fence Act Of 2006. (H.R. 6061, Roll Call Vote #446: Adopted 283-138, R 219-6, D 64-131, I 0-1, NV 10, 9/14/06, Capuano Voted Yea)

  • In 2013, Capuano Called Strong Border Security "A Good Thing." "'I've always argued from day one that strong border security across the board is a good thing,' Capuano said." (David Riley, "Massachusetts Members Of Congress Back Immigration Reform," Roslindale Transcript (Massachusetts), 2/4/13)
  • In 2017, Capuano Said He Thought The Border Wall Was "Silly" And "A Distraction." "I've always thought the focus on the wall is silly because the wall it's just a symbol. There are millions of other ways to make the border secure ... I've always thought the wall is a distraction." (Shawn Bodden and Meghna Chakrabarti, "Rep. Capuano Reacts To The Decision To End DACA," WBUR , 9/5/17)

Representative Jim Costa (D-CA) Voted In Favor Of The Secure Fence Act Of 2006. (H.R. 6061, Roll Call Vote #446: Adopted 283-138, R 219-6, D 64-131, I 0-1, NV 10, 9/14/06, Costa Voted Yea)

  • In 2017, Representative Costa Said Building A Wall Was "Not A Real Solution" And "Does Little, If Anything, To Improve Our National Security." "Building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border is not a real solution to fixing our broken immigration system and does little, if anything, to improve our national security." (Press Release, "Costa Statement On Executive Order To Build Wall On The U.S.-Mexico Border," Representative Jim Costa , 1/26/17)

Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) Voted In Favor Of The Secure Fence Act Of 2006. (H.R. 6061, Roll Call Vote #446: Adopted 283-138, R 219-6, D 64-131, I 0-1, NV 10, 9/14/06, DeFazio Voted Yea)

  • In 2006, Representative DeFazio Said Increased Border Security "Should Be The Foundation Of Any Solution" To Illegal Immigration. "Nor will a solution that focuses solely on border security - though increased border security and employer sanctions, should be the foundation of any solution." (Peter DeFazio, Op-Ed, "Amnesty Won't Fix Immigration Woes," The Register-Guard , 2/8/06)
  • Representative DeFazio Called Spending Money For A Wall Along The U.S.-Mexico Border "Wasteful" And "Unnecessary." "Critical programs like Meals on Wheels, Youth Corps, and Seniors Corps-a program that I brought to Lane County in 1977 that donates millions of hours of service to help those in need-would be eliminated entirely to make way for wasteful, unnecessary spending that purports to protect national security, showering money on an already-bloated Pentagon and a wall along the Mexican border." (Press Release, "Statement From Rep. Peter DeFazio On President Trump's Proposed Budget," Representative Peter DeFazio , 3/16/17)

Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) Voted In Favor Of The Secure Fence Act Of 2006. (H.R. 6061, Roll Call Vote #446: Adopted 283-138, R 219-6, D 64-131, I 0-1, NV 10, 9/14/06, Kind Voted Yea)

  • In 2017, Representative Kind Stated He Was "Afraid" That Republicans Would Propose "Enhanced Border Security." "'Like all things in politics, you've got to show a win-win scenario,' Kind said. 'And I'm afraid their win is going to be enhanced border security, regardless of how much it costs, regardless of how much it's needed. That's what they're going to bring to the table.'" (Joshua Stewart, "Legislation To Help 'Dreamers' Expected This Winter," The San Diego Union-Tribune , 9/19/17)

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