Then and now | Arkansas Blog

Then and now


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The Democratic Party of Arkansas continues to highlight past words and deeds of Asa Hutchinson (as when he said the U.S. need not build a fence to control its southern border) and current events (fence-building bonanza in the making for the usual suspect contractors).

Full news release on the jump.

News release



LITTLE ROCK -- The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to build a 370-mile, triple-layered fence along the U.S.-Mexico Border, despite previous opposition by former Homeland Security Undersecretary for Borders and Transportation Asa Hutchinson. In his former role overseeing border security, Hutchinson rejected the need for a fence, instead saying that the public expected immigration laws to be enforced – the same laws he failed to enforce.


“The U.S. Senate is doing what Hutchinson wouldn’t do because he said we needed to enforce the laws we have.  But when it was his job to enforce U.S. immigration law, he didn’t show up for duty.  We can’t afford that kind of do-nothing, pass-the-buck attitude in the Arkansas Governor’s office,” Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Jason Willett said. 


The Senate voted 83-16 in support of an amendment by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for 300 miles of additional fencing.  The amendment also provided for the immediate construction of 500 miles of vehicle barriers along prime entry points for smugglers and illegal immigrants.


Hutchinson opposed this kind of a fence in his tenure overseeing American borders.


On September 9, 2004, “Mr. Hutchinson, who said he did not know how many illegal aliens entered the country annually, said the goal of his department is to gain operational control of the border, which includes monitoring the ports of entry and the land areas between and responding in an effective manner.  ‘It doesn’t mean we build an Israel-type of fence.  I don’t think we’re going to do that.  I don’t think you want to have a strategy of a Border Patrol agent every 50 yards,’ he said.” (The Washington Times, 09/10/04)


Rather, Hutchinson said the immigration laws should be enforced, yet he failed to do so.


The National Review summed-up Hutchinson’s comments by saying, “[Hutchinson] rejected the idea of an ‘an Israel type of fence,’ and said that the public expects the immigration law to be enforced ‘in a way consistent with our values.’”  (National Review, 10/11/04)


Hutchinson’s failure to enforce U.S. immigration law when it was his responsibility was highlighted in the Arkansas media earlier this week.

Recapping Hutchinson’s Record of Failure

In the 25 months Asa Hutchinson was responsible for border security, the number of illegal immigrants in the country increased by more than a million based on data from the Pew Hispanic Center.    That is more than 9,300 illegal immigrants per week, the equivalent of adding a new city of illegal immigrants the size of Hot Springs, Arkansas, every month.


“Asa Hutchinson, the Department of Homeland Security’s man in charge of border security, shut down a border-patrol initiative to catch illegal aliens.  Reason?  It was catching too many illegal aliens,” John O’Sullivan published in the National Review.  (National Review, 12/13/04)


In June 2004, a Border Patrol “12-member mobile patrol group arrested more than 400 people on the streets of cities in San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties. The arrests, dubbed ‘sweeps’ by the community, stopped after Asa Hutchinson, former undersecretary of border and transportation security, said the group acted within its legal authority but without prior approval from U.S. Customs and Border Protection Headquarters.” (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, 05/12/05)


Under Asa Hutchinson’s management, there was a 99.3 percent drop in the attempts to take action against employers for the hiring of illegal immigrants.


Under Asa Huchinson’s watch in 2004, immigration authorities issued penalty notices to only three companies.  (The New York Times, 3/05/06)  But in Fiscal Year 1999, the federal government attempted to take action against 417 employers for the hiring of illegal immigrants.  [Government Accountability Office, “Weaknesses Hinder Employment Verification and Worksite Enforcement Efforts,” Report GAO-05-813, 08/31/05]

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