As Sen. Maggie Hassan struggles to find a consistent message on illegal immigration and border security, GOP U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Smith’s campaign is seizing on the issue. On Thursday he released his plan for increased border security that appears designed to line up against Hassan on her most vulnerable issues.
Among the items:
• Finish Building the Wall.
• Enforce the Remain in Mexico Policy.
• End Catch and Release.
• Mandate E-VerifyTM nationwide and include penalties (fines & jail) for repeat corporate offenders.
• End Sanctuary Cities.
“Our southern border is in crisis as a direct result of Joe Biden and Maggie Hassan’s reckless open-borders policies,” Smith said. “Maggie Hassan has repeatedly voted against border wall funding, opposes Remain in Mexico, and supports sanctuary cities. My plan cracks down hard on illegal immigration and sanctuary cities, secures our southern border, and keeps our country safe.”
Despite having said in the past she might support additional “physical barriers” at the border, Hassan has in fact voted against border wall funding. She also opposed President Donald Trump’s use of emergency authorization to access border wall funds denied to his administration by Congress.
However, she also voted for an amendment prohibiting federal funding for any entity that failed to enroll in the E-Verify program. And she broke with fellow Granite State Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen on giving COVID-19 relief checks to undocumented immigrants.
Smith says Hassan’s inconsistent, and sometimes contradictory, votes and statements were one reason he is giving voters his specific proposals for defending the borders.
“I wanted to release a plan — with specific language — so voters know what I’m promising to do. And if they give me the opportunity to serve, they can judge me on my record six years from now,” Smith told NHJournal. “It took me one visit to the border to come up with a plan to stop the illegal immigration crisis in this country.
“Maggie Hassan has been a U.S. senator for six years, sits on the Homeland Security Committee, and yet we still have no idea what her position is on border security – in fact, it seems to change by the hour.”
Smith’s immigration plan is endorsed by the National Border Patrol Council, which represents approximately 18,000 Border Patrol Agents.
“Kevin Smith understands we need to secure our border by finishing the wall, enforcing Remain in Mexico, and supporting our brave Border Patrol Agents and ICE Officers. The National Border Patrol Council is proud to endorse Kevin’s plan to secure our southern border,” said National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd.
Smith traveled to the U.S./Mexico border in February, where he toured the area with Judd and discussed the security issue.
“Every state is a border state now. The drugs are coming across the Mexican border, and they’re coming to communities like Manchester,” Smith said at the time.
The Smith campaign has also released a video ad touting his plan.
The border issue is consistently cited as a top concern among Republican and independent voters, and it has become more high profile with the Biden administration’s announcement it is ending Title 42 authority to turn back would-be undocumented migrants at the border. Through February, 1.7 million expulsions had been carried out under that policy, 1.2 million of them during the Biden administration.
Hassan announced Sunday she opposes the Biden administration’s move but voted against a GOP-led effort to uphold it on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Hassan announced she was joining a bipartisan group to defend Title 42.
Hassan did not respond to requests for comment. [Editor’s note: Hassan has instructed the taxpayer-funded employees in her public information office not to respond to requests for comment from New Hampshire Journal.]
“I am honored to have the National Border Patrol Council endorse my plan to secure our southern border,” Smith said. “Maggie Hasn’t fought to secure our border – I will.”