Biden: Blame immigration woes on Mexico
By JIM DAVENPORT, Associated Press Writer 26 minutes
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Sen. Joe Biden, the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee's incoming chairman, wants to get
tough with Mexico, calling it an "erstwhile democracy"
with a "corrupt system" responsible for illegal
immigration and drug problems in the U.S.
Biden, D-Del., was in Columbia on Monday in his first
postelection trip to this first-in-the-South
presidential primary state as he continues to line up
support for his presidential bid.
During a question-and-answer session before more than
230 Columbia Rotary Club members, Biden was asked
about immigration problems.
Biden, who favors tightening the U.S.-Mexico border
with fences, said immigration is driven by money in
"Mexico is a country that is an erstwhile democracy
where they have the greatest disparity of wealth,"
Biden said. "It is one of the wealthiest countries in
the hemisphere and because of a corrupt system that
exists in Mexico, there is the 1 percent of the
population at the top, a very small middle class and
the rest is abject poverty."
Unless the political dynamics change in Mexico and
U.S. employers who hire illegal immigrants are
punished, illegal immigration won't stop. "All the
rest is window dressing," he said.
An even bigger problem are illegal drugs "coming up
through corrupt Mexico," he said. "People are driving
across that border with tons, tons hear me tons of
everything from byproducts for methamphetamines, to
cocaine, to heroine."
Covering a variety of topics, Biden kept most of the
crowd in their seats for an hour twice as long as
"I warn all of you, all of you making more than a
million bucks I hope you all are I'm taking away
your tax cut," Biden said. "I'm not joking."
The extra revenue would generate $75 billion a year
and pay for a backlog in national security and local
law enforcement programs, Biden said.
Biden's appeal for bipartisanship captured Bruce
Rippeteau, a former Rotary president who says he's in
the Genghis Khan wing of the Republican Party.
He "was saying some important things in a nonpolitical
way," Rippeteau said.
"I want to compliment him about what he didn't say,"
Wilson said. "He never one time mentioned weapons of
Biden will lead the Foreign Relations panel because
Republicans around the nation lost seats in the Nov. 7
elections. That tide didn't reach Republican-dominated
South Carolina, where the GOP maintained its four U.S.
House seats and Democrats kept their two.