Colin Hanna was interviewed on Monday, Nov. 21 on MSNBC's "The Situation with Tucker Carlson."
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we don‘t fix the illegal immigration problem at the border, the problem will grow in far more dangerous ways. Because illegal immigration from Mexico provides easy cover for terrorists. They try to exploit our weak immigration laws and blend in with thousands who cross the border day and night, leaving this county vulnerable to another attack. We need to secure the border. Go to WeNeedAFence.com to learn more.
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CARLSON: That‘s one of two new ads sponsored by the group Let Freedom Ring, part of a project called WeNeedAFence.com. The group says it‘s time for the U.S. to seal off its 2,000-mile border with Mexico using a state of the art fence. The idea is gaining momentum.
Here to talk about it, Colin Hanna. He‘s the president of Let Freedom Ring and joins us live tonight from Philadelphia.
Mr. Hanna, thanks for coming on.
COLIN HANNA, PRESIDENT, LET FREEDOM RING: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: What I find impressive about this is you are not sponsored -
this is not a lobby group, essentially. I mean, you don‘t have big business behind you.
HANNA: We don‘t have any business behind us.
CARLSON: That‘s right, exactly.
HANNA: Entirely personal contributions.
CARLSON: You don‘t have labor behind you. You don‘t have the Bush administration behind you. They are, of course, pooh-poohing this and saying it‘s far too expensive, $8 billion, and that‘s just for the first time if memory they‘re complaining about the expense of something.
But is $8 billion—give me some perspective. Is that what it costs?
HANNA: We estimate $8 billion based on an estimate of $2 million to $4 million a mile, which I think is realistic—might even be a little bit on the high side—times 2,000 miles. That gets you to $4 to $8 billion.
And to put that into perspective, if you look at it in national defense terms, it‘s roughly the cost of four B-2 bombers. So, I think it‘s a lot of money to be sure, but I think it‘s in scale with the importance of the issue.
CARLSON: Would it work?
HANNA: Well, I think that it would work. The fence that we are proposing is a little bit different than any fence that‘s proposed right now. You know, Congressman Duncan Hunter from the San Diego area of California has recently proposed a two-element fence with a patrol road between them.
We have proposed a six-element fence that is modeled after the Israeli fences on the West Bank and in Gaza that consist of a barbed wire element, a ditch, a tall and sturdy steel fence that is heavier duty than a chain link fence but not a solid fence, followed by a patrol road. And then the same elements in the other direction, fence, ditch and barbed wire, comprising about 50 yards in total width.
That means that it can‘t be easily compromised. You can‘t take a ladder down to the border and simply climb other it. You can‘t go to your local hardware store and bolt cutters or wire cutters and cut through it, and you can‘t easily tunnel under it.
And we also recommend that it be accompanied by detection devices that will detect motion, as well as any attempted intrusion through tunneling underneath and so on.
CARLSON: And you can do that for the price of four bombers?
HANNA: That‘s—that‘s our estimate. It‘s an order of magnitude estimate. We‘re actually having an engineering company right now do a tighter estimate that has been requested by one of the House of Representatives committees that I might have a chance to testify before. We think it‘s a pretty good estimate, but we‘re going to get tighter numbers soon.
CARLSON: So give me the—this is always an interesting exercise. Give me the argument against it in three sentences approximately. Why could someone be against this? How could somebody say, “I‘m against illegal immigration, but I‘m also against the fence”? What‘s the argument?
HANNA: Well, some think that it‘s symbolically unfriendly, but our proposal includes 200 border crossing points. And we stress that we are absolutely in favor of immigration. We‘re trying to stop illegal immigration, not legal immigration.
And we want to continue to stand as the beacon of opportunity for the world, the economy that most people want to come to. So, we try to put forth a very friendly and open and welcoming viewpoint. We sometimes say that we‘re trying to close the back door to illegal immigration while keeping the front door open to legal immigration.
HANNA: But the people who oppose it never listen all the way through, and their initial, instinctive and occasionally emotional reaction is that it seems unfriendly. But it doesn‘t need to.
CARLSON: I frankly don‘t understand the motivation behind opposition to this fence. I don‘t understand the argument, and I hope we can get someone on to explain it, because I‘m baffled by it.
Finally, do you think—is this going to happen? That you can get it through Congress?
HANNA: I think it has a very good chance of happening, Tucker. We‘ve made enormous progress since we began the WeNeedAFence.com initiative back in August. There are now three fence bills in Congress. Various portions of them will be probably be cobbled together into a comprehensive immigration reform bill that might even be one that comes out of the House Judiciary committee or the House Homeland Security Committee, possibly in the first week in December.
So I think that there‘s a good chance the Senate is going to take it up next year. And I think we‘ve got a great deal of public support. There‘s probably no issue on which the public and political leadership are further apart than on this issue. On this one, the public is leading.
CARLSON: Amen. I absolutely agree with that. Colin Hanna, I wish you every success. I really hope this works. Thanks so much.
HANNA: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Be sure to tune in Sunday night at 9 p.m. Eastern for a special in-depth look at illegal immigration in “CROSSING THE LINE: THE BATTLE AT AMERICA‘S BORDER.” It will be hosted by Lester Holt here on MSNBC. We‘ll look at why the system doesn‘t seem to be working. We‘ll also bring you the actual response from people on both sides of the issue. This Sunday at 9 p.m., right here on MSNBC.illegal immigration
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