CNN resurfaces Biden remarks calling for a border fence

CNN resurfaces Biden remarks calling for a border fence
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CNN has unearthed 2006 remarks from former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBudget official says he didn't know why military aid was delayed: report Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide READ: Foreign service officer Jennifer Williams' closed-door testimony from the House impeachment inquiry MORE warning about drugs coming into the country from Mexico and defending the construction of a barrier at the southern border.

In the video, which is from a speech Biden gave to a South Carolina rotary club, then-Sen. Biden defends his vote for the Secure Fence Act, which authorized the construction of 700 miles of fencing between the U.S. and Mexico.

The video was found by CNN's KFile.

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Biden also called for a crackdown on companies that hire “illegals.”

"I voted for a fence, I voted, unlike most Democrats — and some of you won't like it — I voted for 700 miles of fence,” Biden said at the time. "But, let me tell you, we can build a fence 40 stories high, unless you change the dynamic in Mexico and — and you will not like this, and — punish American employers who knowingly violate the law when, in fact, they hire illegals. Unless you do those two things, all the rest is window dressing."

"Now, I know I'm not supposed to say it that bluntly, but they're the facts, they're the facts,” Biden continued. “And so everything else we do is in between here. Everything else we do is at the margins. And the reason why I add that parenthetically, why I believe the fence is needed, does not have anything to do with immigration as much as drugs. And let me tell you something, folks, people are driving across that border with tons, tons, hear me, tons of everything from byproducts for methamphetamine to cocaine to heroin and it's all coming up through corrupt Mexico.”

Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, defended the remarks to CNN, saying that the former vice president had made the point that building a barrier along the border will not solve the problem of illegal immigration into the country.

Bates also called President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Official testifies that Bolton had 'one-on-one meeting' with Trump over Ukraine aid Louisiana governor wins re-election MORE’s approach to illegal immigration “repugnant” and “contrary to our values as a nation.”

“Vice President Biden believes we have to stop trying to scare people and instead have an immigration discussion based on facts," Bates said. "He believes that we can secure our borders without abandoning our values, and that we should do that by addressing the root causes of immigration abroad and working toward comprehensive immigration reform at home, including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and smart border security."

Biden has been a fierce critic of Trump’s immigration policies.

In a speech to the United Latin American Citizens last year, Biden bashed the administration for its zero-tolerance policy that separated children from their parents at the border.

“Grotesque lies about immigrants and policies that rip babies from their mothers’ arms carry echoes of the darkest moments in our history,” Biden said. “Not only are they a national shame, they tarnish the very idea of America and diminish our standing in the world.”

He also lashed out at the president for pardoning former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been found guilty in a Justice Department investigation of racially profiling Latinos.

“It doesn’t just reveal itself in the betrayal of the 'Dreamers,' or the pardoning of a sheriff who has terrorized this community,” Biden said. “It’s also in the underfunding of our schools, in attacks on labor and the ability of workers to bargain for their worth, and in the neglect of Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria, where many children — American children — have lost a year of school due to the devastation.”

Biden has run a relatively gaffe-free campaign since joining the Democratic presidential race last month.

But at times he’s had to explain positions he’s taken over the course of his long history in government.

Biden’s support for a crime bill in the 1990s and more recently, his backing of a bill that critics say makes it more difficult for consumers to get out of debt from credit card companies, have been an early focal point of his critics.

And Biden has been on the defensive over the Senate Judiciary Committee’s treatment of Anita HillAnita Faye HillFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Christine Blasey Ford makes rare public appearance to accept empowerment award Anita Hill: 'I am ready to hold Joe Biden accountable' MORE in 1991 at Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearing, while he chaired that panel.