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Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich shared video on Thursday of Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin — a harsh critic of President Donald Trump’s efforts to build a border wall — complaining in 2006 because border fencing legislation that year did not cover enough of the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Secure Fence Act of 2006 enjoyed strong bipartisan support, passing the House of Representatives on a 238-138 vote and the Senate 80-19.
Sixty-four House and 25 Senate Democrats voted for the measure, including Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York, Barack Obama of Illinois, Joe Biden of Delaware and Dianne Feinstein of California.
The video shared by Pavlich notes the Democrats’ support.
Obama argued in favor of the bill saying, “It will authorize some badly needed funding for better fences and better security along our borders that should help stem the tide of illegal immigration in this country.”
FLASHBACK: When Democrat Senator Dick Durbin complained about the 2006 Secure Fence Act not covering *enough* of the 2,000 mile southern border —–> https://t.co/iCa0yzRdGj
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) January 10, 2019
While Obama voted for the law, Durbin decided to vote against it, arguing in part the fencing would be inadequate because it wouldn’t cover enough of the border.
“Our border is more than 2,000 miles long, and we are building 300 or 700 miles worth of fencing and barriers,” the senior senator from Illinois said.
“I would say that that leaves a lot of area uncovered,” he continued. “I guess it’s not a leap of the imagination to believe that people will find a way to go around this wall, around this fence, over or under it, it’s going to happen.”
Durbin, like most of his fellow Democrats, opposes Trump’s push for funding for a border wall or barrier, describing the plan as “medieval.”
Following Trump’s Oval Office address Tuesday night during which he made the case for approximately 230 miles of new border barrier, Durbin said in a statement the nation had heard a “desperate attempt by the President to gain support for his medieval border wall. It won’t work. Democrats support strong border security.”
Currently, there exists about 700 miles of various forms of fencing or barriers along the nation’s 1,954-mile border with Mexico. Included in this total is approximately 350 miles of pedestrian fencing and 300 miles of vehicle barriers, National Review reported.
During an Oval Office meeting with Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month, the president said illegal alien traffic dropped 92 percent in the San Diego sector, 95 percent in El Paso, Texas, and 92 percent and 95 percent in Tucson and Yuma, Arizona, respectively, after fencing and other barriers were added.
Pelosi called into question those figures; however, they are in line with statistics given by the Border Patrol to NPR in 2006 following the initial erection of double and triple fencing in the San Diego area.
According to the Border Patrol, the number of apprehensions of those trying to cross the border illegally dropped from approximately 162,000 at its peak in 2008 to 26,000 in 2017.
Earlier this month, Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot told Fox News the fence also worked in his region.
As part of the Secure Fence Act, a 20-foot tall steel fence was built and the number of border patrol agents was tripled
“It was a 91 percent drop (in crime),” Wilmot said. “It obviously helped us curb some of the criminal activity that we unfortunately had to deal with.”
Like San Diego, apprehensions by Border Patrol went from over 138,400 in 2005 to approximately 12,900 in 2017.