Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann signed a pledge today to build a fence around the entire US-Mexico border, saying that it will be the top priority if she were elected President.
Bachmann signed the pledge in Perry, Iowa, where one-third of its residents are Hispanic. As reported by The Associated Press: “President Obama has failed the American people by failing to secure the southern border,” said Bachmann. “I will secure that border and that will be job one.”
The Minnesota congressman also took the time to criticize the immigration policies of fellow candidate Rick Perry, who supported in-state tuition for undocumented students in Texas. The pledge was created by Americans for Securing Our Border.
Van Hipp Jr., head of Americans for Securing Our Border, said Bachmann was the first GOP presidential hopeful to sign the pledge, but he added the group plans to aggressively seek the support of others as well. The document binds Bachmann to support the construction of a double fence along the length of the U.S. border with Mexico by 2013.
“I have been saying this all through the campaign,’ Bachmann said. “Now you have my word in writing.”
She called control of the border a national security issue and said illegal immigration costs the U.S. more than $100 billion a year. At the same time she rejected suggestions that talking about cracking down on illegal immigrants is racist or anti-Hispanic.
“It’s OK to talk about this issue,” said Bachmann. “Some say it’s not OK to talk about this subject because that somehow means we are prejudiced or bigoted or biased against Hispanics. That’s not what I hear form the people of Iowa. They are tired of paying for other people.”
Hipp said the pledge was intended to insure that action is taken on the issue. “For too long, too many politicians have given only lip service to the war on our border,” he said. “The rule of law has been ignored and the federal government has been derelict in its duty in defending our borders.”