[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/03/01/art.huck0301.gi.jpg caption="Huckabee is campaigning in Texas prior to the state's March 4 primary."]
LAREDO, Texas (CNN) – Saturday morning, Mike Huckabee took a trip to the border he talks about securing at every campaign stop.
Standing on the Northern bank of the Rio Grande in Laredo, Texas, Huckabee looked across to Mexico as a Border Patrol officer briefed him on the efforts being undertaken to stop illegal immigration.
Huckabee, a strong proponent of building a fence along the Southern border, told reporters that it was not about keeping people out, but keeping bad people out. He gave examples of drug and human traffickers as well as terrorists.
“I don’t resent that people want to come here, I’ve always said I thank God every day I’m in a country people are trying to break into, not in a country they’re trying to break out of,” said Huckabee, flanked by Chuck Norris and Rep. Duncan Hunter who has built a fence in his Southern California district.
As the former Arkansas governor tries to drum up support among conservatives just days before the Texas primary, illegal immigration is one of the issues Huckabee has repeatedly used to differentiate himself from frontrunner John McCain.
He almost never mentions McCain by name but in Lubbock on Friday, Huckabee said he’s the only candidate who believes the borders should be secured, as opposed to “wholesale amnesty.”
Asked Saturday if McCain’s position on immigration was too soft, Huckabee refused to answer, “I’m not going to characterize his position because I think that’s not really a healthy thing for me to get into.”
Instead, he reiterated that a border fence favors immigrants who have waited patiently for their legal status and helps fight the “assumption that everyone who is here with some Hispanic background is here illegally. That’s wrong, and that should never happen in the United States of America.”
- CNN Political Producer Alexander Marquardt