Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell said Tuesday that the international borders should be “closed” before any legislation that attempts to reform the federal immigration system is passed.
In a debate with Democratic candidate Chris Coons, the two were asked if they supported repealing the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which includes a clause that offers citizenship to any person born in the country. O’Donnell said she would uphold the amendment, but then said she supports closing the borders entirely.
“On illegal immigration I think that we have to close the borders before we discuss any sort of amnesty or DREAM Act or anything,” O’Donnell said.
“Securing” the borders has long been a rallying cry of both Republicans and Democrats this election cycle, but few, if any candidates have advocated closing them, which would block any immigration to the United States, legal or otherwise.
After calling for the borders to be closed, O’Donnell then praised the United States as a place that welcomes foreigners.
“Our country has always welcomed people from other lands,” she said. “We are a magnet because people want to come over and pursue the American dream, but we have made it harder and harder to do exactly that.”
To confirm that O’Donnell did not simply misspeak, The Daily Caller contacted the campaign after the debate and was told that the statement accurately reflected her views.
UPDATE: An O’Donnell spokesman contacted TheDC Wednesday to offer further clarification on her remarks.
“Christine O’Donnell’s position on immigration has always been and will continue to be one where the US federal government must first secure our borders, stop all illegal immigration, and then begin to look at immigration reform,” said campaign spokesman Chris Merola in an email. “When we reward those who break our laws, we’re cheating those who honor them.”