Since he can't afford to say "I'm with Wall Street," DeMint is pulling an old trick out of his hat to derail the financial regulation bill:
Today, DeMint announced that he will attach an amendment to the financial reform bill requiring the completion of 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border within one year. DeMint justified introducing an amendment that has nothing to do with financial regulation by stating that “It’s time we completed the fence and secured our borders to protect American citizens.”Two lessons here. One: DeMint is with Wall Street. Two: Even the nations wingnuttiest legislators realize the border fence is pointless, futile, an crazy enough to derail a bill they don't want to see pass.
This isn’t the first time DeMint has brought up the border fence to drive a wedge into a bill that he doesn’t like. Last summer, DeMint joined a group of Republican senators who swamped the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) $42.9 billion appropriations bill with a series of immigration enforcement-only amendments. DeMint’s latest amendment is virtually identical to the one he proposed in July. Despite the fact that it was approved, DeMint’s DHS amendment was stripped from the final bill last summer after seven border state congressmen asked the House leadership to do so.
Research has found that the border fence is more successful at keeping undocumented immigrants in the U.S. than in persuading them to not come in the first place. U.S. government investigators have additionally indicated that it will cost taxpayers $6.5 billion over the next 20 years to maintain the fencing already in place and the Congressional Research Service estimated in 2007 that building and maintaining a double set of steel fences along 700 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border would add up to $49 billion over the expected 25-year life span of the fence.
The reason the border fence hasn’t been completed is because DHS officials believe those billions of dollars would be better spent on more effective security measures.