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Rand Paul campaign clarifies: He does not want underground electric immigration fence

Does Rand Paul really want to build an underground electronic fence on the Mexican border to stop illegal immigration? His campaign says No.

Paul raised quite a few eyebrows in Republican circles last week when the news broke that his campaign Web site listed a plan for "an underground electric fence, with helicopter stations to respond quickly to breaches of the border."

Even NRSC chair John Cornyn was baffled, wondering aloud to The Huffington Post: "How would that work?"

But Paul's spokesman Jesse Benton is now clarifying to me that the Web site is wrong -- the fence Paul envisions, while electronic, is not meant to be underground. "That's a stupid word that was put in by whoever is writing for our Web site and we need to remove it," Benton told me.

Benton said Paul does think an electronic fence "should be explored," and that Paul envisions it having a "combination of thermal imaging, satellite technology, motion detection, and helicopters at key checkpoints."

But it wouldn't be underground. "Perhaps some of the thermal stuff might be buried, but that's it," Benton said. The electronic fence idea isn't new; it has been tried in other countries, and various proposals have been floated here but have been nonstarters.

Benton added that Paul isn't even necessarily wedded to the fence being electronic. "Rand's priority is to secure the border by all appropriate means," he said. "He supports any kind of fence, whether it's physical or electronic."

So, no need to worry about any underground fences. It's not on Rand Paul's to-do list, after all.

By Greg Sargent  |  July 2, 2010; 11:55 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Immigration , Senate Republicans  
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Slow news day?

Posted by: sbj3 | July 2, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The initial idea, which Rand Paul discussed at various places was a 'fence' of underground sensors to say when people (or whatever) passed and signal to border patrol. However, he also said other things might be used in the alternative. It wasn't that it wasn't a 'fence' it is that he was proposing that underground sensers would be better than a physical fence, but what he absolutely thinks is border security needs to be a priority. He also did say he didn't like the symbolism of a physical fence. The video is around.

Posted by: sailingaway1 | July 2, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

sailingaway1 -- I've seen that video, my sense was that it was inconclusive. But you may be right.

and sbj, I reserve the right to have a little fun on this blog. underground fences are fun. sorry.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 2, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I guess no one told him the Republican's tried the invisible fence during the last administration It had good potential but ended as a embarrassing waste of tax payers money. Private sector didn't deliver as promised and the government won't hold them accountable because the republican's are so pro-private sector...

Posted by: soapm | July 2, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"I reserve the right to have a little fun on this blog."

How can you possibly have fun when Republicans are out there everyday trying to kill us all?

Posted by: sbj3 | July 2, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Ignore SBJ, Greg, he wants America to fail and every article that isn't cheerleading for invading Iran is a step in the wrong direction in his book.

While we're having fun at teabaggers' expense:

* Tea Party Supporters Overlap Republican Base *

There is significant overlap between Americans who identify as supporters of the Tea Party movement and those who identify as conservative Republicans. Their similar ideological makeup and views suggest that the Tea Party movement is more a rebranding of core Republicanism than a new or distinct entity on the American political scene.


While Tea Party supporters are not universal in their backing of Republican candidates, they skew heavily in that direction. About 80% of Tea Party supporters say they will vote for the Republican candidate in their district, slightly lower than the projected 95% Republican vote among conservative Republicans.

This suggests that the potential impact of the Tea Party on Republican chances of winning in congressional and senatorial races this fall -- even if supporters turn out in record numbers -- may be slightly less than would be expected.


The Tea Party movement has received considerable news coverage this year, in large part because it appears to represent a new and potentially powerful force on the American political scene. Whether Tea Party supporters are a voting segment that is unique and distinct from the more traditional Republican conservative base, however, appears questionable. There is significant overlap between Tea Party supporters and conservative Republicans, both groups are highly enthusiastic about voting, and both are heavily skewed toward Republican candidates -- although the latter somewhat more so than the former.

Republican leaders who worry about the Tea Party's impact on their races may in fact (and more simply) be defined as largely worrying about their party's core base.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 2, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul is learning fast that in order to be a consummate politician, everything spoken has to be clarified.

Posted by: kishorgala | July 2, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

These moon-shine-sippin hillbillies have ZERO clue what to do or say or think about these issues...

Z E R O.....

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | July 2, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Just another day at the Tea Bag funny farm for Paul.

Posted by: vztownes | July 2, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Underground. Aboveground. Detection. Fence. Electric. Electronic. Helicoptors on Standby. Thermal Imaging. Satellite Technology. Motion Detection. Buried Thermal Stuff.

Hollywood, take note!

Is the "Nuke Mexico to Kill the Poor Migrant Workers that provide Cheap Labor that the Americans would not touch with a 100-foot Pole" also on table?

Posted by: kishorgala | July 2, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Of course, the toughest part of using the invisible underground fence is getting all the potential border-busters to agree to wear the electronic collars.

Posted by: converse | July 2, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

See, it's the thinking he does before he opens his mouth that gets him in trouble.

Obviously, Rand's thinking comes from la la land.

Posted by: edismae | July 2, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

So the Underground Railroad will survuve, after all!

Posted by: jzap | July 2, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

This is what happens when you combine New with the Old. Technology with Simpletons. A Ladder in the Hands of a Monkey.

Posted by: kishorgala | July 2, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

How about stiff employer sanctions? No jobs, no illegals.

Someone smart enough to realize that farm welfare is socialism should be smart enough to realize that. Or would it inconvenience too many businesses?

Posted by: Garak | July 2, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Here's something Paul should look to for inspiration...

They spent years trying to perfect that thing...would save us years of research!

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 2, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I think Rand Paul is lost in the Oh-Zone.

And he has Staff to prove it.

Posted by: kishorgala | July 2, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Or even better...

Centuries have gone into its development!

Posted by: converse | July 2, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

You'd never accuse Rand and his staff for not being creative, for not thinking outside the box. Way, way outside the box.

Posted by: kishorgala | July 2, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of China.

This is at once both hilarious and depressing:

"There’s good news for American education. About three-quarters of residents — 74% — know the U.S. declared its independence from Great Britain in 1776. The bad news for the academic system — 26% do not. This 26% includes one-fifth who are unsure and 6% who thought the U.S. separated from another nation. That begs the question, “From where do the latter think the U.S. achieved its independence?” Among the countries mentioned are France, China, Japan, Mexico, and Spain."

MF-ing OUCH!!! Some ignorant people out there.

Doesn't surprise me that the percentage of those people is ~25% given what we know of the GOPbagger teapublicans.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 2, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

All, Dems are now reading from Karl Rove's playbook on Michael Steele, attacking him for "rooting for failure":

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 2, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Should we take bets on how many times Rand Paul will have to correct "misstatements" between now and November?

Remember, he was against government enforced civil rights before he was half-for them.

Posted by: kcbob | July 2, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul is no Ron Paul. He's like the retarded child of a genius. Go away dummy.

Posted by: madest | July 2, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

In the immortal words of Little Danny Quayle,
"What a waste it is to lose one's mind, or not to have a mind is being very wasteful."

Posted by: areyousaying | July 2, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

What he meant to say is that we need to do is funnel some of that leaking oil in the gulf to a 1000mile long trench between us and Mexico and then we just set that puppy on fire...

Posted by: ozpunk | July 2, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Then we have the travesty that is called the national boundary fence. Investigate the construction of the border fence yourself and then you will learn that the original 2006 Secure Fence Act was weakened from its inception. The 2006 Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations bill secretly interrupted the--TRUE--construction. How many Americans-Residents are aware that Democrats and some Republicans in a closed door session cut-back on appropriation so only the single fence as we see today is being assembled. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX, Sen. Harry Reid, and co-sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn,(R-TX)were the Senate front to seal the fate of the one of the border barriers? Imagine! If Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) original blue print for the construction of the steel and concrete fence, then at a distance of 1000 feet, a second 15 foot high chain link fence. Both fences dressed with razor wire.

Because of years of neglect of souly to allow undercut labor into the country for--CORPORATE WELFARE. Yes! As a taxpayer you are not only supporting "Anchor babies" and the illegal family members that are numbering in the millions. This includes illegal alien welfare as well. That our government has permitted for decade’s money transfers to other countries from foreign national laborers wages. You as the tax payer are paying for them, be it in social services, court/lawyer costs, detainment/conviction/ prison costs, health care costs, education for their children and a wide spectrum of other costs associated with undocumented "illegal" aliens. Now we have these incredulous problems in the U.S. and as it stands the open border policy would allow more to come in, undocumented, unregulated and irrepressible and millions in numbers of unwelcome impoverished people.

Demand lawmakers follow the "Rule of Law" People who comment should stand up to the plate and bombard their federal lawmakers at 202-224-3121 and don't forget your state legislators, including pathetic Governors and Mayors. Any Pro-Amnesty Representative such as Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) must be removed from office in November--but watch for illegal immigrant voting? Learn the whole truth at NumbersUSA. Additionally discover who your enemies are in both political parties beginning with Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Learn the statistics, costs, prison numbers and much more at ImmigrationCounters.

Posted by: infinity555 | July 2, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

The facts are that we are not even capable of building sufficient flood protection for our nation, in terms of levys and dams. We are not capable of maintaining our transportation infrastructure, such as bridges and roads.

The fact is that a 2000+ mile border fence is simply not a feasible notion. There is no way to build it and no way to maintain it. This is akin to the Great Wall of China. We simply do not have the resources or construction capacity. And assuming we did, it would bankrupt our nation, because it would cost more money than we have. And even assuming that could be overcome, it would not be effective, because thousands of people would attempt to constantly breach it.

Thus the notion of a border fence is a political lark. It is a fantasy notion for simpletons, used by politicians as a rallying cry in abdication of their leadership responsibility.

A real leader would tell Americans that they are safer than ever before, and that we have nothing to fear from legal immigrants, and that the notion of walling off our country compromises everything that we stand for: liberty, opportunity, and freedom of movements. Our strength is to be a beacon for the world, not a wall. We are not a fearful nation, but an open one.

Posted by: AgentG | July 2, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

(Ayn)Rand(ull) Paul isn't a hillbillie is he? -- he's only in Kentuckee because medicare regulation is the most lax in the nation and he couldn't make a living elsewhere. But I understand he's a Texan, which should clear up just a whole bucnh of questions.

BTW Texas just executed its 14th inmate this year and there's a good chance some were guilty.

So, here's to takin' back AmeriKKKa one lunch counter at a time.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | July 2, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul is part of the wrong Tea Party. Ask him this: why is a raven like a writing desk?

Posted by: dudh | July 2, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: georges2 | July 2, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

At least Paul's heart is in the right place. Barack Obama simply will not consider sealing our southern border. Obama seems to care more for the welfare of Mexicans than he does for Americans.

More and more Americans are realizing this fact and will punish Democrats severely in November and beyond.

Americans will not tolerate amnesty for illegals. It has been tried before and failed miserably.

Posted by: battleground51 | July 2, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

You know, that doesn't really clear things up very well.

Posted by: wiscoman | July 2, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

if you ask me ... the underground fence with plenty of dripping water sounds perfect ...

--- clear as day

Posted by: bluefincheesetime | July 3, 2010 2:44 AM | Report abuse

His lead in the polls continues to widen. Despite the best efforts of the Journolist cabal. Thank God Al "Crazy Sex Poodle" Gore invented the Internet!

Posted by: tagger | July 3, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

His lead in the polls continues to widen. Despite the best efforts of the Journolist cabal. Thank God Al "Crazy Sex Poodle" Gore invented the Internet!

Posted by: tagger | July 3, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Three questions:
1) Has someone, anyone, pitched a price tag for the fence?
2) How much will it cost to operate/maintain per year?
3) Will the fence decrease illegal from crossing the border and, if so, by how much?

Posted by: simonleonard | July 3, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Put the Fence with the "Electric" Hot Tacos Away.
Now really what is wrong with making it more difficult for illegals Aliens to come over to commit crimes. I for the electric fence and I am a democrat.

Posted by: Logic5 | July 7, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

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