A resurfaced video from 2006 shows 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden calling for a border fence “40 stories high” and punishments for businesses who hire “illegals,” but his 2020 campaign spokesperson said that a fence would “not address the real issues” with illegal immigration.
While speaking to a South Carolinian Rotary Club in 2006, the then-senator — who advocated for giving illegal immigrants in the U.S. free health care earlier this week — touted bucking from his fellow Democrats in the Senate to vote for a measure that would have added “700 miles of fence” to the southern border.
He then declared that “we can build a fence 40 stories high” and that American companies that “hire illegals” should face punishment for doing so:
“But, let me tell you, we can build a fence 40 stories high. Unless you change the dynamic in Mexico and — and you will not like this — and punish American employers who knowingly violate the law when, in fact, they hire illegals. Unless you do those two things, all the rest is window dressing.”
Watch the video here:
“Now, I know I’m not supposed to say it that bluntly,” Biden continued. “But they’re the facts. And so everything else we do is in between here. Everything else we do is in the margins.”
Biden went on to say in the video that he believed the “fence [was] needed” more to curb the flow of illegal drugs over the border than immigration.
A spokesperson for Biden’s campaign — Andrew Bates — said that Biden’s stance toward the issue has not changed but that a border wall would not tackle the problems surrounding illegal immigration.
“As then-Senator Biden said at the time, ‘we can build a fence 40 stories high,’ but it will not address the real issues here,” Bates said, according to Fox News. “Vice President Biden believes we have to stop trying to scare people and instead have an immigration discussion based on facts.”
The video’s resurfacing comes as Biden begins his campaign in the contentious 2020 Democratic presidential primary, which has grown to 21 candidates. Considered the front-runner, he faces off against other big-name politicians including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).