Rep. Jones pledges to support border fence

Published 9:41 pm Friday, January 4, 2008

By Staff
Urges Congress to follow suit
Staff Writer
U.S. Rep. Walter Jones became the first member of Congress to sign a pledge to fund construction of a barrier between the U.S. and Mexico.
In signing the pledge this week, Jones, who represents the state’s 3rd Congressional District, vows “to vote for, fully fund, and speedily expedite the construction of a secure double fence across the entire U.S.-Mexico border within six months after the convening of the next Congress.”
Founded in 2007, Fence By Date Certain is a non-partisan, non-profit group dedicated to persuade the federal government to build a secure fence the length of the U.S.-Mexico border. Jones said Thursday he supports securing the nation’s borders as a “key part of the war on terror.”
Jones said the goal of having the fence fully funded within six months is a realistic benchmark because “the American people and the people of the 3rd District have already spoken and they want this security.”
While Jones is addressing the illegal immigration issue on Capitol Hill, Beaufort County Commissioners have taken steps to target illegal immigrants at the local level.
At a special meeting scheduled for Jan. 17, commissioners will meet with Michael Hethmon, general counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute. They are to discuss what authority they have to prevent illegals from becoming a drag on the local economy. The board has already weighed denying health department services to clients that cannot prove U.S. citizenship.
Jones is scheduled to speak to Beaufort County Republicans at a meeting at Hog Heaven restaurant Thursday. Richardson said he and fellow republicans expect Jones to support their local efforts to combat illegal immigration.
Jones said city, town and state governments across the nation are beginning to take on the issue of illegal immigration because “they have lost confidence in Congress to do anything.”
Last year U.S. Customs and Border Protection exceeded a goal of having at least 145 miles of federally policed fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Web site. That will add to the nearly 300 miles of pedestrian and vehicular fencing already in place and is the first step to building 670 more miles of fence, according to the Web site.
James P. Pinkerton, acting chairman of Fence By Date Certain, received Jones’ pledge and lauded his decision to join the effort to build the border fence.