Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, in an interview with Fox News Digital this week, said the construction of a wall at the southern border is not enough to stop the ongoing migrant crisis, and he said he believes the military should be deployed to both the southern border and possibly the northern border.
‘I think that building the wall is not and has not been enough. They are now building tunnels underneath that wall, literally underground tunnels that are being used to bring in illegal migrants and even to support human trafficking and drug trafficking,’ Ramaswamy said in Manchester, New Hampshire. ‘So, I think that’s a serious problem.’
Ramaswamy said that, if elected, he would deploy troops to the southern and potentially the northern borders.
‘I would use our own military to secure our own southern border. I think that is legally, ethically and constitutionally justified. That is how we seal the southern border. In fact, I think it’s going to be an approach that we will eventually need to seal our own northern border as well,’ he said.
Ramaswamy’s remarks come as the U.S. remains in a migrant crisis at the southern border now into its third year. Numbers have recently dropped from the highs seen before the ending of Title 42 in May, but it is unclear how long that will last.
The U.S. saw more than 1.7 million migrant encounters in fiscal year 2021 and more than 2.4 million in fiscal year 2022. Even with a sharp drop in encounters in May, there were still beyond 200,000 for the month.
Meanwhile, at the northern border, while numbers have been significantly lower, there has been a significant increase. So far in fiscal year 2023, there have been more than 115,000 encounters, compared to 109,535 in fiscal year 2022 and 27,180 in fiscal year 2021.
While the Biden administration has said it is rebuilding legal asylum pathways shut down by the Trump administration while also dealing with a hemisphere-wide migration crisis, Republican critics have accused the administration of fueling the crisis by ending Trump-era policies and expanding ‘catch-and-release.’
Republican presidential candidates have been firmly on the side of increased enforcement and stricter measures to combat illegal immigration – coming out in favor of policies that include restoring the Trump-era ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy and ending birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.
Ramaswamy said he would not only restore ‘Remain in Mexico’ – which kept migrants in Mexico for the duration of their asylum hearings and was abolished by the Biden administration – but also put greater pressure on Mexico to control its own border.
‘Yes, absolutely. And I think this is part of what we are going to need – Mexico to regain its sovereignty means Mexico needs control of its own southern border. Many of the immigrants, most of the illegal migrants that come into the United States illegally through the southern border did not actually start in Mexico. They started in other countries south of Mexico. So, I think that ‘Remain in Mexico’ is absolutely essential to create the incentives for Mexico to take control of its own borders and its own sovereignty,’ he said.
The entrepreneur, who is the son of legal immigrants, reasserted his belief that birthright citizenship should not be in play for the children of illegal immigrants.
‘I don’t think that you should be able to earn citizenship, that you do legally earn citizenship if you’re the child of illegal immigrants who crossed that border illegally. And I say this as somebody who actually celebrates birthright citizenship as a major American accomplishment. Most nation’s identities were founded on an ethnicity or a monarch or a religion, not America’s. America was a country founded on a set of ideals that anybody could be a part of, regardless of their ethnicity,’ he said.
‘So, I say that starting from a very good place in the unique heritage of this country, to say that still we’re a nation founded on the rule of law, and your first act of entering this country cannot be a lawbreaking one,’ he said.
The GOP hopeful said he would seek to pass a constitutional amendment on the matter and also go a step further and require those born in the U.S. to take a civics test at 18 similar to the way that foreign nationals are required to take.
‘I would go further and codify into a constitutional amendment that I would support if necessary that dovetails on the constitutional amendment that I’ve already said that I would support, which is to say that anyone born in this country, if you want to enjoy the full privileges of citizenship at age 18, that means that you have to pass the same civics test that a naturalized citizen has to pass in order to become a full voting citizen as well,’ he said.
‘So, in many ways, I’m going even further with the unique American vision that says: Yes, we are a nation founded on ideals. That means that more than just being born here, it’s being born here but also having the civic duty of knowing something about this country, of actually having a stake in this country in order to be a full voting citizen.’
Fox News’ Matteo Cina contributed to this report.