Michele Bachmann today became the first major candidate to sign a pledge vowing to construct a fence along the border with Mexico by the end of 2013.
At an event in Perry, Iowa, Bachmann signed the Americans for Securing the Border pledge and lent her support to construction of a “double fence” along the entire southern border of the United States.
“I will secure the border,” Bachmann told a gathering, with the admittedly “tongue-in-cheek” name “Taking it to Perry,” a play on this town’s name and her chief GOP rival, Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
She said the fence will be “job number one” if she were elected. “Every mile, every foot, every inch.”
Bachmann said illegal immigration costs the country $1 billion a year and tied the flow of undocumented immigrants to the unemployment rate and national security.
Despite the event’s name, Bachmann barely brought up Perry, suggesting only that he allowed for a “don’t ask, don’t tell” style policy in Texas in which illegal immigrants are able to receive in-state tuition at Texas universities, despite a federal ban.
Undocumented students in Texas received $44 million in financial aid, money she said should have gone to legal citizens.
Perry has said in the past that a physical fence along the entire border is impractical.