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The cause and effect of border violence

Cosby investigates problem, discusses proposal in front of Congress
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Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, filed legislation on Thursday that he thinks will limit much of the illegal immigration coming across the U.S./Mexico border.

Under his plan, the U.S. would build twin metal fences along the entire 2,000-mile border.

Thursday, Hunter, joined MSNBC's Rita Cosby on 'Live and Direct' to discuss the plan. Cosby recently joined law enforcement along the U.S./Mexico Border to investigate the ease in which illegal aliens and drug and human traffickers can make their way into the U.S.

To watch video of Cosby's recent visit to the border, click on the "Launch" button to the right. To read an excerpt of the conversation about border control, continue to the text below.

RITA COSBY:  Congressman, what exactly are you proposing?

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R) CALIFORNIA:  Well, actually, it shouldn't be controversial because we've already completed part of it, and that, very simply, is the answer to what you just showed in Texas.  That's what we had between Tijuana and San Diego.  Ten years ago, that was a no-man's-land.  We had the robbing, raping, murdering.  We had gangs that roamed that area between America and Mexico.  And we had that scraggly barbed-wire fence, like the one that you showed near Nuevo Laredo.

Now, what we did was build a triple fence.  And that is, we had a steel fence right on the border, built out of Desert Storm-type landing mat.  Then 50 yards into the United States, we built a 15-foot high fence with a major overhang that Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn't climb on his best day. ... And then we had a second border patrol road and then a third fence.  And we found out it was so effective, we didn't even need the third fence. 

COSBY:  That was what I was going ask you.  Is that what you're asking for, the whole stretch, all 2,000 miles?

HUNTER:  Yes, we propose to extend that fence all the way the 1,800 miles from San Diego, California to Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Mexico.  It could be done quickly.  You can start the sections in different places.  For example, you could start a section -- what we ought to do with the murder and the killing and the violence in Nuevo Laredo is to immediately build a triple fence on the American side of the border and cut that route off to the drug industry, which is using Nuevo Laredo as a jump-off point.

COSBY:  Real quick.  What could that cost?  What's the price tag on that?

HUNTER:  Well, we can build this fence, a triple fence, the contractors, private contractors bid around $1 million a mile.  If they did that across the 2,000 miles between San Diego and Brownsville, Texas, you're talking about $2 billion.  Right now, the drug trade and all of the costs of criminal aliens are upwards of $40 billion or $50 billion a year, if you count the total cost of having an unsecured border.

We offered this bill today, and it basically extends the San Diego border fence-I wish you'd show a picture of that because it's a very effective barrier.  And if you go out there, the border patrol manning that will tell you they can drive a high-speed vehicle between those two fences, and unless everybody's out at the Dairy Queen, people cannot get across that double fence or the triple fence that preceded it.

Watch 'Rita Cosby Live & Direct' each night at 9 p.m. ET on MSNBC.