Joe Biden railed against illegal immigration and expressed his support for a 700-mile barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border in a 13-year-old video that is getting new viral attention.
In the video, the Democratic 2020 hopeful struck tones that would later be picked up by Donald Trump, warning that there were “tons” of drugs pouring across the border from “corrupt Mexico,” The HuffPost noted.
Speaking to members of a Rotary Club in Columbia, South Carolina, the then-Delaware Senator noted that he broke ranks from many other members of his party in supporting the border fencing that had been proposed in the Secure Fence Act. Biden also called out business owners who hire illegal immigrants.
“I voted, unlike most Democrats ― and some of you won’t like it ― I voted for 700 miles of fence. But, let me tell you, we can build a fence 40 stories high ― unless you change the dynamic in Mexico and ― and you will not like this, and ― punish American employers who knowingly violate the law when, in fact, they hire illegals. Unless you do those two things, all the rest is window dressing,” Biden said.
Biden was a frequent advocate of a tougher border stance through 2006 and into 2007, as he launched a campaign for president. The resurfaced video led to some criticism of Biden, both from supporters of Donald Trump and among those backing other Democrats to win the party’s nomination.
But others have defended Biden, noting that the border fencing he was supporting is very different from the massive border wall that Donald Trump frequently advocated for during his run for president. The Secure Fence Act ended up passing with bipartisan support, and was credited with helping to address illegal immigration by strategically placing fencing along some the most heavily trafficked areas.
Critics have said that Donald Trump’s proposal to build a massive, concrete border wall along the length of the U.S.-Mexico border would be an expensive waste of resources that could be better spent on more strategic measures to increase border security.
In one speech to a rotary club in 2006, video of which was posted on YouTube at the time, Biden boasted about voting for a fence on the border to stop drugs –– repeatedly saying Democrats in the audience wouldn't like what he had to say.https://t.co/2JJvBNP8KE
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) May 10, 2019
Since officially entering the race in late April, Joe Biden has emerged both as the frontrunner for the Democratic Party’s nomination and also as the chief target both for Donald Trump and for other Democrats. Biden’s primary opponents have criticized him for cozy relationships with lobbyists and corporate interests, while Trump has taken aim at Biden for his allegations of getting too touchy with women, calling the former vice president “creepy.”