Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. Candidates are listed by party and in alphabetical order by last name. Black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria for inclusion.
Should the US continue to build a physical barrier, such as a fence, along the US-Mexico border?
Virgil Goode, former US Representative (R-VA), stated the following on his campaign website page "The Issues," available at www.goodeforpresident2012.com (accessed May 14, 2012):
"Illegal immigration must stop. Our borders must be secure. In Congress, I supported and cosponsored legislation to stop illegal aliens, terrorists, drug smugglers, and other criminals from coming across our Southern border. We need to utilize troops, fences, and other measures to stop the invasion from Mexico. I was the first to sponsor legislation providing for a fence along the Southern Border. We must continue to fight for funding and for adequacy of the fence." May 14, 2012 Virgil Goode
[Editor's Note: In a May 14, 2012 email to ProCon.org, Virgil Goode stated "Yes" in response to our question "Should the US continue to build a physical barrier, such as a fence, along the US-Mexico border?"]
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, stated the following in the Apr. 21, 2011 speech "Former Gov. Gary Johnson (R-NM) Announcement of Candidacy Capitol Front Steps," available at www.p2012.org:
"The notion of building a fence across two thousand miles of border, the notion of putting the National Guard arm in arm across two thousand miles of border in my opinion would be a whole lot of money spent with very little if any benefit whatsoever." Apr. 21, 2011 Gary Johnson
Barack Obama, then US Senator (D-IL), stated the following at the Feb. 21, 2008 Democratic presidential debate hosted by CNN and held in Austin, TX, according to "The CNN Democratic Presidential Debate in Texas," available at CNN.com:
"Well, this is an area where Senator Clinton and I almost entirely agree. I think that the key is to consult with local communities, whether it's on the commercial interests or the environmental stakes of creating any kind of barrier...
As Senator Clinton indicated, there may be areas where it makes sense to have some fencing. But for the most part, having border patrolled, surveillance, deploying effective technology, that's going to be the better approach." Feb. 21, 2008 Barack Obama
[Editor's Note: Barack Obama indicated in a May 10, 2011 speech delivered at the Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, TX, available at whitehouse.gov, that he believes the fence to be "basically complete": "The Border Patrol has 20,000 agents -- more than twice as many as there were in 2004. It's a build-up that began under President Bush and that we've continued.. So we put the agents here. Then they wanted a fence. Well, the fence is now basically complete...
We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement. All the stuff they asked for, we’ve done...
You know, they said we needed to triple the Border Patrol. Or now they're going to say we need to quadruple the Border Patrol. Or they'll want a higher fence. Maybe they'll need a moat. Maybe they want alligators in the moat. They'll never be satisfied."]
[Editor's Note: Senator Obama also voted in favor of the "Secure Fence Act of 2006" (H.R.6061) on Sep. 29, 2006 which allowed for the following:
"SEC. 3. CONSTRUCTION OF FENCING AND SECURITY IMPROVEMENTS IN BORDER AREA FROM PACIFIC OCEAN TO GULF OF MEXICO...
(1) SECURITY FEATURES.-
(A) REINFORCED FENCING.-In carrying out subsection (a), the Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide for least 2 layers of reinforced fencing, the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors..."]
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated the following during the Republican presidential debate held at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA on Sep. 7, 2011, available at NYTimes.com:
“Romney: Well, first, we ought to have a fence. Secondly...
Diaz-Balart: The whole fence, 2,600 miles?
Romney: Yes. We got to -- we got to have a fence, or the technologically approved system to make sure that we know who's coming into the country, number one. Number two, we ought to have enough agents to secure that fence and to make sure that people are coming over are caught…
If we want to secure the border, we have to make sure we have a fence, technologically, determining where people are, enough agents to oversee it, and turn off that magnet. We can't talk about amnesty, we cannot give amnesty to those who have come here illegally.” Sep. 7, 2011 Mitt Romney
Michele Bachmann, US Representative (R-MN), stated the following during the Sep. 22, 2011 Republican presidential debate held in Orlando FL, available at "Transcript: Fox News-Google GOP Debate" on www.foxnews.com:
“I would build a fence on America's southern border on every mile, on every yard, on every foot, on every inch of the southern border. I think that's what we have to do, not only build it, but then also have sufficient border security and enforce the laws that are on the books with the ICE agents, with our border security.” Sep. 22, 2011 Michele Bachmann
Herman Cain, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and Chairman of Godfather's Pizza, stated the following during the Oct. 18, 2011 Republican presidential candidate debate in Las Vegas, NV, available at politisite.com:
"Herman Cain, let me start with you. Obviously, over the weekend, you got a lot of headlines by saying you would have an electrified fence. You then later said it was — you then later said it was a joke. And then last night, you said, 'It might be electrified. I’m not walking away from that. I just don’t want to offend anyone.'...
So would you build an entire fence along the entire border, and would you have it be electrified?
CAIN: Allow me to give a serious answer. Yes, I believe we should secure the border for real, and it would be a combination of a fence, technology, as well as possibly boots on the ground for some of the more dangerous areas. I don’t apologize at all for wanting to protect the American citizens and to protect our agents on the border, no." Oct. 18, 2011 Herman Cain
Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah, stated the following during the Aug. 11, 2011 Republican presidential candidate debate in Ames, IA, available at www.foxnewsinsider.com:
"When elected president, I‘m simply going to prove to the American people that we can secure the border. That‘s what they want done. And I‘m not going to talk about anything else until we get it done. Secure the border.
Eighteen hundred miles, we‘ve got a third of it done, between fencing and technology and National Guard boots on the ground. We can finish." Aug. 11, 2011 Jon Huntsman
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated the following during the Sep. 7, 2011 Republican presidential candidate debate hosted by NBC News and Politico at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA, available at www.nytimes.com:
"But the people who want big fences and guns, sure, we can secure the borders - a barbed-wire fence with machine guns, that would do the trick.
I don't believe that's what America is all about. I just really don't.
We can enforce our law. If we had a healthy economy, this wouldn't be such a bad deal. People are worrying about jobs. But every time you think about this toughness on the border and I.D. cards and real ideas, think that it's a penalty against the American people, too.
I think this fence business is designed and may well be used against us and keep us in. In economic turmoil, the people want to lead with their capital. And there's capital controls and there's people control. So, every time you think of fence keeping all those bad people out, think about those fences maybe being used against us, keeping us in." Sep. 7, 2011 Ron Paul
Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, offered the following in the "Security" section of his official campaign website, rickperry.org(accessed Nov. 29, 2011):
"As president, Perry will substantially increase manpower, technology and fencing along the border to protect the American homeland and stop illegal immigration. This strategy has proven effective in Texas, where Gov. Perry has directed nearly $400 million in state tax dollars to do the federal government’s job of securing the border.
Perry will deploy thousands of National Guardsmen to the border until a sufficient number of border patrol agents can be hired and trained. He will order federal officials to expedite construction of strategic fencing, especially in high traffic areas where manpower alone is insufficient to do the job. And he will make greater use of unmanned aerial assets to gather reliable, real-time intelligence that law enforcement can immediately act upon." Nov. 29, 2011 Rick Perry
Rick Santorum, former US Senator (R-PA), stated the following during the Sep. 12, 2011 Republican presidential candidate debate in Tampa, FL hosted by CNN and Tea Party Express, available at www.cnn.com:
"I've said this from the very beginning. What - I'm the son of a(n) Italian immigrant. I believe in immigration. I believe that immigration is an important part of the lifeblood of this country. But what we have is a problem of an unsecure border. Unlike Governor Perry, I believe we need to build more fence. I - I believe that we need to secure the border using technology and more personnel. And until we build that border, we should neither have storm troopers come in and throw people out of the country, nor should we provide amnesty." Sep. 12, 2011 Rick Santorum