July 1st, 2007
11:24 AM ET
11 years ago

Chertoff to Hunter: Border fence "overly simplistic"

WASHINGTON (CNN)–Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff defended his agency’s progress on border security this morning against attacks from Republican presidential candidate Duncan Hunter. On CNN’s Late Edition, Chertoff said, “fencing has a symbolic value, and it has usefulness in some parts of the border. And we're going to use it where it is effective. But the idea that you are going to solve the problem simply by building a fence is undercut by the fact that yesterday we discovered a tunnel. So the idea that fencing alone is a solution I think is overly simplistic.”

In an appearance two weeks ago on Late Edition, Congressman Hunter (R – California) took on Chertoff, saying, “If you're going to have more border enforcement, why do you cut the border fence in half and leave New Mexico and Texas wide open for people to come in?” Hunter added, “Mr. Chertoff is charged with securing the border. And the one thing he's not doing - he's appearing on lots of talk shows, he is not securing the border.”

- CNN Associate Producer Jennifer Burch

Filed under: Duncan Hunter • Immigration
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Bob Earl, Miami, Florida

    Dear Secretary Chertoff,

    The citizens of the United States of America don't believe anything you say.

    They want their leaders to tell them they are taking action to secure our country.

    All you tell us is why you can't do something. Your whining is more representative of a 5 year old that a leader. RESIGN!

    Time for a rEVOLution!


    July 1, 2007 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. Bonnie Kane, La Mesa, CA

    Chertoff's comments are nonsense. This is like saying, we won't close the tunnels, because without building the fence, such efforts would be meaningless.
    Mr. Chertoff is not enforcing the border and everyone knows it. It is a sad commentary that this is his only defense, and he expects people to believe him.

    July 1, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. Perilous, LA CA

    I think it's an even sadder commentary that a third of the country do believe him...or any of these thieves, liars, and villains we call "government" in this country.

    July 1, 2007 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  4. Jerry Wagner, Hutchinson, MN

    I don't think we should let congress just drop the immigration thing.
    They need their feet held to the fire.

    Here is what I would do:
    Build the wall, even militarize it. Its not to keep out workers, but to keep out terrorist and drug people. This is diametrically opposite to the Berlin Wall.
    Create tamper proof IDs, enough to supply the needs of those companies that say they 'need' those workers, these would be of limited duration, but should have some sort of path to citizenship also.
    Make them available in Mexico and in Canada, and issue them to anyone who passes a legitimate background check, and give preference to those that had been working in the US.
    Enforce the ban on companies who hire illegal's.
    After six months jail, fine, and deport any illegal's picked up, this would give some time for those here to get their IDs.
    Don't go after everyone, just those picked up, kind of like the highway patrol picks up speeders. They don't try to catch everyone, just those they see. Anyone picked up for a crime would serve their time for the crime, plus the jail, fine and deportation of any other illegal found.
    Any official not complying with the law would be fined and send to jail on felony charges also.

    July 1, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  5. D.K., Eureka, Ca

    You folks need to start thinking logically. The man said a tunnel was found. How is a wall going to stop that? And do you naieve enough to believe there is only one tunnel? Do you know that we illegal immigrants also attempt entry by way of water everyday? A wall does nothing to stop such activity, and it would cost taxpayers billions to erect...for nothing.

    Pointless and pointlessly expensive. Use your brains.

    The land border should be enforced by the means we already have – have already paid for – The National Guard, just as the Coast Guard is handling the water boarder.

    July 2, 2007 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  6. Jim McMullen

    Isn't that the idea. KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. Or is SEC. Chertoff really that stupid?

    July 2, 2007 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  7. Randy pensacola Fla

    The fence will help But we do need to add more personell on the border..Coyotes are driving back and forth through the night on the border And a fence will stop that.Chertoff is not doing his job plain and simple..We have money already for border security and The Goverment is doing nothing..Fine the employers Stop giving Welfare and free handouts and Illegals will stop coming,Or atleast slow down

    July 2, 2007 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. Rev. Clark Woodburn, OR

    Build the fence. It is the law!!!

    July 2, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. Jeffersonian

    A fence is not pointless. With 10,000 illegal aliens a day coming across the border anything and everything we can do to reduce the number is worth the cost. So it stops only half, thats half we won't have to deport later.

    July 2, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. Matt Houston, Texas


    You are the one that needs to think logically.

    Is the wall an end all answer? Of course not. Nobody has said it is.

    But a wall is the beginning of the deterrence. The wall alone will make it harder for people to literally just run over the border. Now they have to exert more effort building a tunnel.

    Tunnels cant me moved and changed as easily as paths across an open plain. That leads to a greater chance of being found. This equals more risk. Eventually you can make the reward not worth the risk and people will stop coming illegally.

    So by making it tougher, you are stopping groups from coming and that is a good thing

    July 2, 2007 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. Terry Sanders, Knoxville, TN

    Physical security of an area has to have multiple facets to it. I haven't seen any site in the US that is supposed to be secure that DOESN'T have a physical barrier like a fence. Check the Whitehouse out. It has a fence as part of its security. The Berlin wall (different use – holding people in) was very effective but not perfect in its task.

    July 2, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. Geoff, Denver, CO

    How long do you think it takes to build a tunnel D.K.? A very long time. That is the usefullness of a fense. Once in place you use seismic sensors to detect the digging and stop the tunnels before they are completed. You need to use your brain.

    July 2, 2007 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. Delano Minden Nevada

    Chertoff is another Bush crony, a puppet, dancing to Bushe's mexican lobby in and out of Congress. Why did not Chertoff come to the aid of the two Border Agents that were railroaded into prison by another Bush crony, Gonzales. Gonzolas pursued the two border agents to put fear into the other border agents and to keep them from doing strong border enforcemnt. Chertoff is gulity of allowing this dishonest perpetration upon two border agents doing their job.

    July 3, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |