Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio on Monday called for completion of a 1,500-mile fence along the Mexican border as part of a five-point initiative on border security.
“From illegal immigration to terrorism and Ebola, the reasons for securing our nation’s border have never been more clear,” he said at a press conference at his campaign headquarters.
The Republican contender for the 52nd District accused incumbent Scott Peters of being a “rubber stamp” for what DeMaio said was a failed policy of President Barack Obama.
DeMaio’s five-point proposal includes:
- Hiring more Border Patrol agents and expanding use of the National Guard along the border
- Completing a 1,500-mile border fence, similar to a fence in parts of San Diego County
- Using drones to achieve “100 percent monitoring and coverage of the entire border”
- Stepping up sanctions against employers who hire undocumented workers
- Giving the Border Patrol expanded authority to turn-back illegal entrants at the border
He said that once these steps are taken, he would advocate expanding visa programs for foreign workers and other immigration reforms. “I believe that securing the border is a fundamental prerequisite to any discussion of immigration reform,” he said.
Asked if a similar fence should be built along the Canadian border, he said the entire security situation must be assessed, but “let’s finish the job of securing the southwestern border.”
Apprehensions of illegal entrants by the Border Patrol have increased over the past two years because of an influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America. However, total apprehensions are less than half the level of a decade ago, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The Border Patrol apprehended 421,000 people along the southwest border in the 2013 fiscal year and 480,000 in 2014.
The 52nd District covers much of central San Diego County including Poway, Coronado and large portions of the City of San Diego.