The first Republican debate of the 2024 election was held on August 23.
The event featured eight candidates: Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Chris Christie, Asa Hutchinson, and Doug Burgum.
The front runner, Donald Trump, chose not to attend.
It was certainly entertaining, with some animated exchanges between candidates (transcript here).
One might ask why some of these candidates are even running.
Well, even if you lose, running for president of the United States can raise your profile and lead to other opportunities. Maybe a job in a new administration? Or a vice presidential slot?
Here at Border Hawk, we are interested in what these candidates had to say about immigration and the border situation.
It wasn’t much, but there were some comments. They all mentioned the topic at one time or another.
Candidates assured us they want to secure the border – but, of course, all Republicans say that.
At least nobody called for an amnesty, so maybe the party is making progress.
Vivek Ramaswamy used a question about Ukraine to bring up the border crisis:
BRETT BAIER: “Mr. Ramaswamy, you would not support an increase of funding to Ukraine?”
RAMASWAMY: “I would not. And I think that this is disastrous, that we are protecting against an invasion across somebody else's border, when we should use those same military resources to prevent the invasion of our own southern border here in the United States of America.”
Amen to that.
Mike Pence was in the curious position of having to defend the Trump administration while voicing his disagreement with the former president over the events of January 6, 2021.
Speaking of the Trump administration, Pence had this to say:
“Look, we secured the Southern border of the United States of America and reduced illegal immigration and asylum abuse by 90 percent. When Joe Biden took over, he threw open the southern border of the United States. And the wave of humanity, the wave of fentanyl that's been eloquently described here is a wave of human tragedy across this country..."
"I was there when we negotiated through the government shutdown and got the funding available to build the wall. I was negotiating on Capitol Hill around the clock. I negotiated the Remain-in-Mexico policy on behalf of the president of the United States..."
"It's because we used economic pressure to bring the Mexicans to the table, and they allowed us to have people wait in Mexico while they applied for asylum and ended asylum abuse overnight. We got the Mexicans to deploy their National Guard to their southern border and to our southern border as never before. And I want to promise you, as president of the United States of America, I will engage Mexico the exact same way…"
The Trump administration successfully made the Mexican government help us by reducing the quantity of non-Mexicans passing through Mexico to get to the United States. That was a great accomplishment. Of course, it was totally reversed by the Biden administration.
Instead of appearing at the debate, Donald Trump was interviewed by Tucker Carlson.
Near the end of the interview, after the 42-minute mark, Tucker asked what Trump’s number one priority would be if he is elected president again.
Trump replied: “Number one is [the] border and taking hundreds of thousands of criminals that have been allowed into our country and getting ‘em out… The first thing I would do would be I would seal up the border good and tight except for people who want to come in legally.”
Stef W. Kight of Axios recently wrote an article outlining Trump’s "unprecedented" immigration and border agenda.
She doesn’t like the scheme, mind you, but I hope her reporting is accurate.
According to Kight, the Trump plan includes “an assembly line deportation machine," an increase in ideological screening for prospective immigrants, and an attempt to end automatic birthright citizenship for children born to illegal aliens.
The scheme would “severely curtail legal immigration," Kight writes.
It sounds like a great plan for the American people.
You can find more of Allan Wall's work at his website.