Video: Fence off Mexico?

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updated 3/31/2006 9:08:43 AM ET 2006-03-31T14:08:43

Controversy continues to swirl around the proposed 700-mile-long fence along the U.S.-Mexico border that would help prevent illegal immigrants from entering this country.

Colin Hanna, founder of the group Let Freedom Ring and president of WeNeedAFence.com has taken the concept of a border fence a step farther.  He's proposing a state-of-the-art fence 40 to 50 yards wide that he says would never allow an illegal immigrant to cross the border again. 

Carlson discussed the border fence concept with Hanna.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, "THE SITUATION":  Now give us an honest and dispassionate sense of where this is now.  Are we likely to get a border fence?  A lot of people are in favor of it, but is it likely to actually happen in the next five years?

COLIN HANNA, PRESIDENT, WENEEDAFENCE.COM: Well, the House bill already includes the 700-mile fence and not just 700 miles as some sort of arbitrary number, but it's 14 known drug smuggling corridors.  So it's already in the House bill.  The question is will it be in the Senate bill? 

You were talking earlier about the possibility of compromise with regard to the guest worker program.  There are two ways to compromise.  You either dilute each side of the compromise until it becomes both unobjectionable or ineffective, or you attempt to create balance by having a strong component on one side added to a strong component on the other side. 

That, I think, is by far the most thoughtful and likely productive way to break the legislative stalemate that would otherwise ensue. 

So our belief is that you start with border security first with a high-tech, physical barrier system as the centerpiece of border security.

CARLSON:  Right.

HANNA:  And then you can add some of these other immigration liberalization measures.  Not only that they be balanced, but that they also be sequenced properly.  And if they are, our opinion research shows that the actual support for the combination is greater than the individual constituencies for each of its parts. 

CARLSON:  Because people intuitively understand that, if you grant amnesty to the 10, or 11 or 12 million, whatever they are, illegal immigrants already in this country you will draw tens of millions more from Latin America and around the world, because the message you'll be sending is come here illegally and we don't care.  We'll make you a citizen anyway.  So—but if you put that fence up and prevent anybody else from coming in illegally, then you have more latitude to extend citizenship to the people already here.  Is that what you're saying?

HANNA: Absolutely.  And we make a big distinction between securing the border, which we favor, and closing the border, which we don't.

Securing the border means having enough crossing points, ports of entry so that it does nothing to interfere with trade, with commerce, with tourism or with legal immigration.  We are pro-immigration, but we are pro-legal immigration. 

CARLSON:  Well, I'm not even sure exactly what the argument is against it.  This country is spending hundreds of millions and billions, actually, in aid to Israel, and I think we ought to be giving that money to Israel.  However, that money is going, some of it, to building a fence, right, to keep Palestinian suicide bombers from getting into Israel proper.  And it works, so how can we fund that and say our own fence is illegitimate or won't work?

HANNA:  That fence has been very effective.  And in fact, our fence design is modeled on that.

But you used a keyword a moment ago when you said what is the argument against the fence?  By and large, there is no argument against the fence.  There are sometimes instinctive, emotional reactions against the fence, largely centered on the symbolism of a fence. 

CARLSON:  Why isn't the president behind the fence?

HANNA: I think he is hung up on the symbolism of the fence.  But when it is part of a true balance, then, I believe, that the base of support increases.  So if the president truly wants a guest worker program, our argument is the best way to get the support for a guest worker program is first to secure the border with a fence, such as we have proposed.  And then there will be public support. 

Otherwise, you're going to see public outcry which will far exceed last weekend's immigration rallies and, frankly, will exceed the port security fracas that we saw a few weeks ago. 

CARLSON:  That's right.  I think every word you've just said is completely true.  Americans feel like immigration is out of control, and more to the point, they have no control over it. 

Once they feel they have control over it, then I think we can all relax and make good decisions about what to do now. 

Colin Hanna, I hope you succeed in what you're doing. 

Watch 'The Situation with Tucker Carlson' each weeknight at 11 p.m. ET

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