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Sen. Clinton wants barrier along border
[April 23, 2006]

Sen. Clinton wants barrier along border

(New York Daily News (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) NEW YORK _ Taking her hardest line yet against illegal immigrants, Sen. Hillary Clinton told the New York Daily News she wants U.S. borders secured with a wall or fence, possibly surveillance drones and infrared cameras.

Clinton's proposal _ which came just weeks after she blasted Republican crackdowns on illegal immigrants as un-Christian _ raised the ire of activists.

But she tempered her remarks by saying that, while she supports a barrier to stem new illegal immigrants, she favors a legalization process for the 11 million undocumented aliens already here.

Clinton envisions a two-stage plan in which border security is beefed up, followed by legalization efforts in a year or two.

"A physical structure is obviously important," the New York Democrat and possible presidential contender said. "A wall in certain areas would be appropriate," she said, endorsing a high-tech "smart fence" that could spot people approaching from 200 or 300 yards.

Embracing both conservative and liberal goals, Clinton said she backs citizenship rather than amnesty for illegal immigrants, as long as it's "earned."

At the same time, she welcomed tougher enforcement of federal laws punishing employers who hire illegal immigrants. Clinton also does not support a work and school boycott by advocacy groups set for May 1.

At a planning meeting Saturday for a human chain demonstration in the five New York City boroughs that day, immigrant advocates booed Clinton's get-tough stance.

"To see the senator from New York, which is clearly an immigrant state, take a position that harsh is not the real solution," said Gouri Sadhwani, executive director of the New York Civic Participation Project and La Fuente. "The flow of undocumented immigrants into our country will not be stopped by putting up a fence along the Mexican border."

Saul Campoverde, 35, a construction worker from Brooklyn, who came to the U.S. illegally from Ecuador 10 years ago, also ripped the fence plan.

"That would be like clipping the wings off a bird _ that would kill many people's dreams of having a better opportunity, future for their families," he said.

Activists were happier with what Clinton had to say last month when she lambasted GOP moves to brand undocumented immigrants as felons.

"It is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the Scriptures," she said then. "This bill would literally criminalize the good Samaritan _ and probably even Jesus himself."


(c) 2006, New York Daily News.

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Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.


ARCHIVE PHOTOS on KRT Direct (from KRT Photo Service, 202-383-6099): Hillary Clinton

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