Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker may think that a wall along the U.S.-Canada border is a "legitimate" idea to look into, but two U.S. senators think it's "dumb" and "terrible."
Sens. Rand Paul and Patrick J. Leahy don't always agree, but they are aligned on opposing a security wall along the northern border, with Paul, a Kentucky Republican, categorizing the comments as just the newest installment of oneupsmanship among GOP presidential hopefuls' rhetoric on immigration.
"That's a pretty dumb idea," Paul, who is also running for the 2016 GOP nomination, told Boston Herald Radio on Monday. "There's been a lot of dumb ideas put out. One that the Mexicans will pay for a wall was probably the dumbest of dumb ideas, but putting a wall up between us and Canada is sort of a ridiculous notion."
"It's sort of like everybody's now competing to say: 'Oh no, I'll put them in camps; Oh no, I'll throw them out; Oh no, I'll put everyone in jail and I'll have an electric fence and I'll do this," Paul said, adding that some places along the southern border need walls, but a "functioning" immigration system with a "good" work program and "zero tolerance" for illegal entry will tie off illegal immigration in about "six months to a year."
"But walls and all the other stuff, there are places for walls, you know, in some of the big cities along the southern border, but we've gotten into this shouting match about who can build a bigger wall," Paul said.
Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, also charged Walker's comments to the political process, and suggested that Walker is "unaware of the economic prosperity that commerce across the northern border brings to the United States."
"Those of us who represent states that share a border with Canada know better," Leahy said in a statement. "In Vermont, we look to our Canadian neighbors as partners in trade and commerce, and as joint stewards of our shared communities. The families and businesses that have made our border communities their home for generations also understand that a wall is a terrible idea"
Leahy added that Walker's comments were unbelievable, and that "election season always brings out crazy ideas, but this is one of the craziest."
Walker hinted Sunday on Meet the Press that he was open to the idea of a wall across the U.S.-Canada border, calling the idea posed by New Hampshire officials "legitimate."
"Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire," said the 2016 presidential hopeful. "They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago. So that is a legitimate issue for us to look at."
To Leahy, it's just politics as usual.
"It is disappointing but not surprising that yet another Republican presidential candidate is using the border to score cheap political points,” said Leahy.
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