On Thursday, South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune proposed an amendment that would require 350 miles of double-layer fencing before any legalization illegal immigrants can begin. That double-layer fencing in his proposal was part of the 700 miles already required by a 2006 law, where only 36 miles have been completed.
Then, according to the amendment, the other 350 miles must be completed before any green cards could be issued to those in the country illegally. But that amendment offered by the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, the third-highest ranking position in the Senate GOP caucus, had one vociferous opponent in Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Immediately after Thune spoke on his amendment on the Senate floor, Landrieu took to the floor, but had a misstep with the facts in speech, particularly with regards to geography.
Landrieu declared the amendment requiring that fencing to be a waste of taxpayer money, since there were those that have been able to tunnel under existing fencing.
“Mr. President, I’m going to speak about this amendment for just a minute, but I’d like to respond to Sen. Thune, and I wish that we could get a vote on his amendment as well as this one because I would like to strongly vote and strongly express objection to his amendment,” she said. “And I’d like to comment for a minute.”
“I chair the Homeland Security Appropriations Committee that is actually building the fence,” she continued. “The money to build it comes through my committee, so I’ve actually gone down to look at the fence that we’re trying to build. It was shocking to me and would be shocking to everyone in America if they would see it, that no matter if you build a single fence or a double fence with space in between, how easy it is for people to be very ingenious about getting over it or under it. So I would be voting against Sen. Thune’s amendment because I’m not going to waste taxpayer money on a dumb fence. And that’s what his amendment would be.”
Landrieu didn’t stop there with her opposition to Thune’s amendment. She went on to attack the South Dakota Republican on grounds his fence was dumb by comparing his state to Sen. John McCain’s state of Arizona. And she said McCain’s opposition should be a lesson for Thune, since Arizona borders Mexico and South Dakota only shares a border with Canada, which it does not.
“We need to build a smart fence,” she continued. “And a fence is not just a physical structure which could be built out of a variety of different materials with or without barbed wire on the top. A smart fence which is what Sen. McCain and I want to build — since he’s from Arizona, I think he knows more about this than the senator from South Dakota who doesn’t have a border with Mexico, but only Canada and that is quite different. I think Sen. McCain would say if he were on the floor that we absolutely want to build a barrier of security, and that will be a combination of a physical structure that is built to the great standards that we can with the technology that will actually shut down illegal immigration. It is not correct for anybody listening to this debate to think that people on the Democratic side of this aisle or people supporting this bill do not want to secure the border. Nothing could be further from the truth. But I can tell you — I may be overridden. People may vote against it, but I’m going to hold the position that we cannot waste billions and billions and billions and billions of dollars building a fence that doesn’t hold anybody on one side or the other. We have wasted enough taxpayer money.”