Chertoff vs. Hunter

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

Home­land Se­cu­rity chief Michael Chertoff says Rep. Dun­can Hunter is “not right” in his claims that the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion is stalling the de­vel­op­ment of a se­cu­rity fence along the U.S.Mex­ico border.

Dur­ing the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial de­bate two weeks ago, Mr. Hunter, Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can, said, “I wrote the bill that the pres­i­dent signed in Oc­to­ber that takes the San Diego fence 854 miles across Ari­zona, New Mex­ico and Texas, and it’s manda­tory. I called up the other day, and they’ve done two miles of border fence. This ad­min­is­tra­tion has a case of the slows on border en­force­ment.”

“He’s not right,” Mr. Chertoff said in re­sponse May 20 dur­ing an ap­pear­ance on CNN’s “Late Edi­tion.” “Ba­si­cally, we will have 150 miles of fence built by the end of Septem­ber. What Con­gress­man Hunter’s not telling the pub­lic is, the way you build fence is you don’t build one mile and then build an­other mile.”

“I’ve been there. I’ve seen miles of fence that have gone up in the last year. We’re com­mit­ted to get­ting 150 miles done by the end of Septem­ber, and it will be done.”

Mr. Hunter’s bill calls for the hir­ing of 6,000 new border pa­trol agents and 370 miles of border fenc­ing, Mr. Chertoff said.

“We’re at 150 miles by the end of this com­ing Septem­ber. We will be at 370 miles by the end of cal­en­dar year 2008,” Mr. Chertoff said.

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