Donald Trump said he wants to build a wall along the U.S. and Mexico border, saying that his opponent, Hillary Clinton had voted for the wall too. Did Hillary Clinton want to build a wall? Here’s a fact-check about Trump’s claim.
One of the very few things that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump agree about is increased border security. Their views on immigration policies may be different, but both candidates want better security at the country’s border with Mexico. At a campaign rally in August, Trump said he wants to build the wall, and that Clinton had voted, many years ago, in favor of building it. Did Hillary Clinton want to build a wall, and did she vote for it? Read on to find out.
Trump’s Wall Idea Isn’t Original
Prohibiting immigration has been one of Trump’s campaign points for a long time. During a campaign appearance in Green Bay during a campaign event in August of this year, Trump said he wants to build a solid 2,000-mile long wall between U.S. and Mexico. He even said that he’d make the Mexican government pay for its construction. But how does Clinton come into this? Here’s the statement that started it all.
“We’re gonna have strong borders. We’re gonna have a wall—a big, powerful wall. You know that Hillary Clinton wanted a wall, a number of years ago. She wanted a wall.”
In the final U.S. presidential debate last night, Clinton said her immigration policy involves increasing border security. She intends to secure U.S. borders with a combination of efforts, including putting up physical barriers.
The combination of Trump’s statement, and Clinton talking about building barriers for border security, has got fact-checkers looking for evidence about Hillary Clinton voting for a wall on the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
Did Hillary Clinton Vote for a Wall?
The answer is yes, she did vote for a physical barrier a decade ago. In 2006, when Clinton was a Senator, President George W. Bush initiated a more concrete immigration reform. The bill was called the “Secure Fence Act of 2006.” It authorized certain security measures along the country’s southern border, including installing 700 miles of fencing between the U.S. and Mexico.
Clinton, and 25 other Democratic senators, voted in favor of the bill. One of the other Democrats who voted was Barack Obama. The Secure Fence Act passed the Senate by a vote of 80-19, and was signed into law by President Bush.
The project wasn’t entirely successful, however. Lack of funding and interest from Congress stalled the project. Currently, 700 miles of fencing separates the two countries, but only 36 miles are double-layered. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security determined what was necessary according to a 2007 amendment in the federal budget bill.
Clinton’s Fence vs. Trump’s Wall
Clinton was questioned about voting in favor of a wall on the southern border. She defended herself, saying the bill was about immigration reforms, which also included border security, and physical barriers that will prevent illegal immigration and drug trafficking. “I voted for border security and some of it was a fence,” Clinton said. “I don’t think we ever called it a wall. Maybe in some places, it was a wall.”
Some might argue that the Secure Fence Act is different from Trump’s promise of a wall. On his web site, Trump has listed his 10-point program for curbing immigration. Trump claims he intends to build a solid, impenetrable wall on the southern border, at the Mexican government’s expense. His project is far more expensive than the fence built in 2006 by the U.S. government.
The difference lies in the overall immigration strategy of the two candidates. Both want to put a stop to the illegal trafficking and drug trade along the borders. However, Clinton plans to resolve outstanding issues and increasing security, while also making citizenship an attainable dream for immigrants. This way, people will enter the country through the right channels and with proper screening, thus curbing illegal immigration. Trump’s policy is to put a stop to immigration altogether, drive out immigrants who are suspected of any crime, and only allow those who have the potential to be self-sufficient without burdening the U.S. government.
Arguably, there isn’t much difference between Clinton’s fence and Trump’s wall. Both talk about strong physical barriers. Trump isn’t that far gone when he says she voted for a barrier on the southern border. But Clinton wants immigrants to have equal rights in and opportunity.