Duncan Hunter on Immigration

Republican Representative (CA-52)

Hispanic community does not agree with having open borders

Q: Four out of five Hispanics are either legal residents or American citizens. Many of them feel affected by the negative tone of the immigration debate. What would you do to curb this anti-Hispanic sentiment?

A: I represent a district in San Diego that for many, many years is a majority Hispanic and two-to-one Democrat. You know what you do? You look people in the eye and you talk to them frankly. I would say this: I got more votes from the Hispanic community--known as the guy who built the border fence--than anybody running for office. That means that the Hispanic community in the United States does not agree with the idea of having open borders. They do agree with the idea of having order on the border and having a regulated system where this lady of freedom standing behind me, the Statue of Liberty, says: Come in, but follow the rules.

Source: 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision Dec 9, 2007

Folks here illegally have to leave, to protect our jobs

Q: Is it even practical to try to send 12 million illegal immigrants all home?

A: Folks that are here illegally have to leave and let me tell you why. Today, if youíre a dry wall contractor and you play by the rules & pay $27/hour, you will be constantly under-cut by contractors who use people who are here illegally. Thatís not fair to Americans who play by the rules. Thatís one reason you have, in certain areas, especially in the construction trades now, higher levels of unemployment.

Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University Sep 27, 2007

Rescind Bushís order allowing Mexican trucks on US roads

Q: Allowing Mexican trucks into our country brings unsafe equipment driven by people unable to communicate in English, read highway signs, or even know our laws. This creates a serious safety concern and undermines American jobs. Bill Clinton successfully kept Mexican trucks off US highways. Will you rescind Pres. Bushís order to allow Mexican onto US roads?
Source: [Xref Tancredo] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate Sep 17, 2007

Complete fence, despite difficulties, because itís the law

Q: Your idea is to complete 854 miles of fence from California to Texas along our Southern border. But top Texas officials now say that doing so would infringe on the property rights of some of the ranchers and farmers in that area, and they also say trying to maintain a fence in open desert would be impractical. What do you say to them?

Hereís what we tell them: Itís the law. And you know, I built that border fence in San Diego. And itís really two fences. Itís a double fence. Itís not that scraggly little fence that they keep showing on CNN with people hopping over it. If you get over my fence, we sign you up for the Olympics immediately. Now, that fence is a double fence with a road in between, and it reduced the smuggling of people and drugs in San Diego by 90%. And thatís the reason I wrote the law that extends it 854 miles across Arizona, New Mexico & Texas. Theyíve only done 17.9 miles. As president, I will complete all 854 miles in six months. Thatís my commitment. Itís the law.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News Sep 5, 2007

FactCheck: Only 9 miles of fence in San Diego after 11 years

Hunterís implication is highly misleading, that an 854-mile border fence would cut smuggling for the US like the San Diego fence did. For one thing, San Diegoís fence just shifted smuggling to other points. For another, only 9 of the 14 miles of the San Diego fence have been completed since 1996. Lawsuits, logistical difficulties & other issues have tied the project up, so the notion that hundreds of miles of fencing could be finished in 6 months, as Hunter promises if heís elected, seems far-fetched.
Source: FactCheck.org on 2007 GOP debate at UNH Sep 5, 2007

This administration has ďthe slowsĒ on border enforcement

This administration has a case of the slows on border enforcement. As long as youíve got a revolving door and you have no border, itís not just an immigration problem, itís a homeland security problem. We need to build the border fence. We need to have a Border Patrol which is big enough to get the job done, and we need to be able to ask people when they want to come into America, knock on the front door, because the back door is going to be closed.
Source: 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina May 15, 2007

Keep rule barring immigrants from running for president

Q: Should we change our Constitution to allow men like Mel Martinez, born in Cuba, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, born in Austria, to stand here some night as candidates for president?

HUNTER: We havenít seen his endorsement yet. Thatís a no.

GILMORE: No, I want to amend this Constitution in a variety of different ways, and this would be not a good start to do it that way.

McCAIN: He and I have many similar attributes, so I have to seriously consider it.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

I built the 854-mile border fence and it cut down crime

Q: Gov. Schwarzenegger has won the state twice by downplaying partisanship and taking centrist positions on the environment, immigration, abortion. Is that the way to win for Republicans?

A: You know, itís a way to win, but we need to win the right way. In my town of San Diego, we build the border fence. When we built that fence, we had a border out of control, and we built that fence. And itís a double fence. Itís not that little scraggly fence you see on CNN with everybody getting over it. We had massive murders on the border, massive illegal immigration, massive importation of drugs. I built that border fence. We brought down the smuggling of people and narcotics by more than 90%. I wrote that law that extends the San Diego fence for 854 miles across AZ, NM, & TX. One way to bring down crime in every state is to have an enforceable border. That means letís build that border fence. When people want to come into this country, letís ask them to knock on the front door.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

FactCheck: 854-mile fence shifted crime more than cutting it

Hunter made some dramatic claims for a security fence erected at the busy border area south of San Diego, implying it would have similar effects once extended to the Gulf of Mexico. But he didnít tell the whole story. Hunter could be right about his claim of a 90% reduction in smuggling at San Diego. But the fence proved much more expensive to build than predicted, and to a large extent it merely moved illegal border crossings eastward.

San Diegoís 14-mile fence was supposed to cost $14 million, but the DHS estimates that by the time itís finished it will have cost $127 million to build. Litigation by environmentalists over the fedsí proposal to pour 5.5 million cubic feet of dirt into a valley to flatten the terrain caused major construction delays.

Overall apprehensions in the San Diego sector declined by 76% after the fence was begun. Meanwhile, however, apprehensions increased in others sectors further east, most notably a 591% increase in the Tucson sector between 1992 and 2004.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library May 3, 2007

Hinting at amnesty causes a rush to the border

Q: Bush said, ďWe cannot fully secure the border unless we take pressure off the border. And that requires a temporary worker program. We should establish a legal and orderly path for foreign workers to enter or country to work on a temporary basis.Ē Is the president right?

A: The presidentís wrong on that one, and Iíll tell you why. Every time the president sends out a message or Congress sends a message that thereís a real or perceived benefit, thereís something good to be had in America if you come in illegally, you start a stampede for the border. And weíve seen that in the number of border arrests that happen every time the president makes a speech in which he even hints at amnesty. It doesnít make any sense to have this thin line of border patrolmen and now the 6,000 National Guardsmen that the president has sent to the border protecting our border, and at the same time make political statements [that encourage illegal immigration]

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Feb 11, 2007

Voted YES on building a fence along the Mexican border.

Within 18 months, achieves operational control over U.S. land and maritime borders, including:
  1. systematic border surveillance through more effective use of personnel and technology; and
  2. physical infrastructure enhancements to prevent unlawful border entry
Defines "operational control" as the prevention of all unlawful U.S. entries, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, narcotics, and other contraband.

Proponents support voting YES because:

It is obvious there is no more defining issue in our Nation today than stopping illegal immigration. The most basic obligation of any government is to secure the Nation's borders. One issue in which there appears to be a consensus between the Senate and the House is on the issue of building a secure fence. So rather than wait until comprehensive legislation is enacted, we should move forward on targeted legislation which is effective and meaningful. The legislation today provides over 700 miles of two-layered reinforced fencing, and for the rest of the border provides a virtual fence, via integrated surveillance technology.

Opponents support voting NO because:

Just to build the fence is going to cost us at least $7 billion. Where is the money coming from to pay for it? How much is it going to cost to maintain this 700-mile fence? Who is going to do it? This bill contains no funding.

This bill also ignores real enforcement measures, like hiring more Border Patrol personnel, and instead builds a Berlin Wall on our southern border. So long as employers need workers in this country, and while our immigration systems impede rather than facilitate timely access of willing workers to those opportunities, undocumented immigration will never be controlled.

Walls, barriers, and military patrols will only force those immigrants to utilize ever more dangerous routes and increase the number of people who die in search of an opportunity to feed and clothe their families.

Reference: Secure Fence Act; Bill H R 6061 ; vote number 2006-446 on Sep 14, 2006

Voted YES on preventing tipping off Mexicans about Minuteman Project.

Voting YES on this amendment supports the Minuteman Project, a group of volunteers who have taken on surveillance of the Mexican border for illegal immigrants. The amendment states that US funds will not be used to tell the Mexican government about the whereabouts of the Minuteman Project volunteers. Proponents of the Minuteman Project say that they are volunteer citizens doing what the federal government SHOULD be doing, but has failed to do. Opponents of the Minuteman Project say that they are vigilantes at best and anti-Mexican racists at worst. The amendment states:
None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to provide a foreign government information relating to the activities of an organized volunteer civilian action group, operating in the State of California, Texas, New Mexico, or Arizona, unless required by international treaty.
Reference: Department of Homeland Security appropriations; Bill HR 5441 Amendment 968 ; vote number 2006-224 on Jun 6, 2006

Voted YES on reporting illegal aliens who receive hospital treatment.

Vote to pass the bill that would require hospitals to gather and report information on possible illegal aliens before hospitals can be reimbursed for treating them. The bill would also make employers liable for the reimbursements if an undocumented employee seeks medical attention, unless the employer meets particular conditions for exemption. The bill would specify that hospitals aren't required to provide care to undocumented aliens if they can be transported to their home country without a significant chance of worsening their condition.
Reference: Undocumented Alien Emergency Medical Assistance Amendments; Bill HR 3722 ; vote number 2004-182 on May 20, 2004

Voted NO on extending Immigrant Residency rules.

Vote on motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill that would extend by four months a law allowing some immigrants to remain in the country while pursuing legal residency.
Reference: Motion sponsoerd by Gekas, R-PA; Bill HR1885 ; vote number 2001-127 on May 21, 2001

Voted NO on more immigrant visas for skilled workers.

Vote to pass a bill to increase the number of temporary visas granted to highly skilled workers from 65,000 to 115,000 by the year 2000.
Reference: Bill introduced by Smith, R-TX.; Bill HR 3736 ; vote number 1998-460 on Sep 24, 1998

Rated 100% by FAIR, indicating a voting record restricting immigration.

Hunter scores 100% by FAIR on immigration issues

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a national, non-profit, public interest membership organization of concerned citizens united by their belief in the need for immigration reform. Founded in 1979, FAIR believes that the U.S. can and must have an immigration policy that is non-discriminatory and designed to serve the environmental, economic, and social needs of our country.

FAIR seeks to improve border security, to stop illegal immigration, and to promote immigration levels consistent with the national interestómore traditional rates of about 300,000 a year.

With more than 70,000 members nationwide, FAIR is a non-partisan group whose membership runs the gamut from liberal to conservative.

The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

Source: FAIR website 03n-FAIR on Dec 31, 2003

Rated 92% by USBC, indicating a sealed-border stance.

Hunter scores 92% by USBC on immigration issues

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 USBC scores as follows:

About USBC (from their website, www.usbc.org):

U.S. Border Control, founded in 1988, is a non-profit, tax-exempt, citizen's lobby. USBC is dedicated to ending illegal immigration by securing our nation's borders and reforming our immigration policies. USBC [works with] Congressmen to stop amnesty; seal our borders against terrorism and illegal immigration; and, preserve our nation's language, culture and American way of life for future generations.

Our organization accepts no financial support from any branch of government. All our support comes from concerned citizens who appreciate the work we are doing to seal our borders against drugs, disease, illegal migration and terrorism and wish to preserve our nation's language, culture and heritage for the next generations.

Source: USBC website 06n-USBC on Dec 31, 2006

Declared English the official language of the US.

Hunter co-sponsored declaring English the official language of the US



    The Congress finds and declares the following:
  1. The US is comprised of individuals and groups from diverse ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds.
  2. The US has benefited and continues to benefit from this rich diversity.
  3. The common thread binding individuals of differing backgrounds has been a common language.
  4. The Federal Government should maintain a language common to all people.
  5. English has historically been the common language and the language of opportunity in the US.
  6. The purpose of this title is to help immigrants better assimilate and take full advantage of opportunities in the US.
  7. By learning the English language, immigrants will be empowered with the language skills and literacy necessary to become responsible citizens and productive workers in the US.
  8. The use of a single common language in conducting official business of the Federal Government will promote efficiency and fairness.
  9. English should be recognized in law as the language of official business of the Federal Government.
  10. Any monetary savings derived from the enactment of this title should be used for the teaching of the English language to non-English-speaking immigrants.
Source: English Language Empowerment Act (H.R.123) 99-HR0123 on Jan 6, 1999

Other candidates on Immigration: Duncan Hunter on other issues:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010