Exclusive — Rick Santorum: Trump Right, ‘Mexico Is a Big Problem’ Has to ‘Pay Price’ for Insecure Border or We’ll Make It ‘Unpleasant’ for Them

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is coming out guns-a-blazing against the nation of Mexico for its role in perpetrating an insecure border — allowing its nation’s criminals, drugs, and problems into the United States. Santorum threatens to make that nation pay a “price” for hindering efforts to secure its border with the U.S. If he’s elected president, he’ll make it “unpleasant” for Mexico.

In the exclusive interview with Breitbart News ahead of the first GOP debates here in Cleveland, Santorum said that GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is right about this, and he laid out his conclusive and detailed plan to get America’s “immigration problem”—which Santorum said constitutes both legal and illegal immigration issues—under control. Santorum said if he’s elected president and Mexico keeps blocking American efforts to secure the border, he’ll suspend all border crossing card issuance and take other steps to sanction America’s neighbor to the south for their hostile acts against America when it comes to immigration.

Santorum said:

We’re the only one that has a comprehensive plan on immigration control. Everything from what everybody focuses which is the border—which is obviously vitally important from a variety of different fronts to protect this country, keeping drugs and other kinds of paraphernalia out of this country, which is important. In that respect, Donald Trump is right—that’s an important part of it. He’s also right that Mexico is a big problem. They are folks that do not cooperate with us on the border and make things much more difficult for us to control on the border. We need to be very clear that if the Mexicans are not going to begin cooperating in securing the border, we’re going to start doing things that make it unpleasant for them to work with America. One of the things that I’ve thought about—and I haven’t put this in the plan yet—but as I travel around the country, people are focused in on this issue, and I think we need to send a very clear message to the Mexicans that we will suspend issuing border crossing cards if they’re not going to start getting their act together and cooperating with border security efforts, and Mexico is going to pay some sort of price here. So, that would be number one.

Secondly and thirdly, Santorum said for his immigration policy, America needs to get visa overstays under control and an employment verification system in place.

“Number two is obviously visa overstays—we have to track visas and have biometric cards to make sure that we are telling people when you come into this country you have to leave on a timely basis. We don’t do that right now. So, again, another enforcement issue there. Thirdly, E-Verify. E-Verify has to be universal. Every employer has to use it and not just on future employees but current employees. That’s a comprehensive look.”

Santorum also called for deportation of illegal aliens, focusing first and foremost on any with a criminal record. He also pushed for an end to birthright citizenship in America for illegal aliens who have anchor babies in the United States. He went on:

Then we have to do removals. We have to do removals in an orderly fashion. And obviously the focal point will be removing people who are arrested for criminal activities or convicted for criminal activities. They should be removed from this country. That’s one that, believe it or not, that not everyone in the Republican Party is in favor of, but again we have birthright citizenship—that’s another area where I disagree with a lot of people in this race. I don’t believe we should have that. We’re one of two countries in the world that have birthright citizenship for people who aren’t in the country legally. That just doesn’t make any sense to most Americans, that someone who crosses the border illegally and has a child here, that that person is now legal.

When it comes to legal immigration, Santorum supports a 25-percent reduction in current numbers—and is the only Republican candidate for president who’s got any semblance of a plan dealing with this side of the immigration problems facing America. Other candidates, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, have talked about this stuff a little bit, but Santorum is the only candidate to release a detailed plan—which he did in a Breitbart News exclusive op-ed and interview a couple months ago. Santorum mentioned in this latest interview ahead of the debate how this part of the issue was thrust into focus when several candidates were asked about this part of the immigration problem earlier this week at the New Hampshire Voters First Forum at Saint Anselm College in Manchester.  Santorum said:

But really the big differentiator for me, as you know, is on legal immigration. On legal immigration, I’ve called for a 25 percent reduction. I’ve been specific in how to accomplish it. I found it interesting the other night when Jeb Bush mentioned that he would get rid of chain immigration. That’s what I want to do. I want to get rid of chain immigration. He wants to dramatically increase other areas of immigration but my position is let’s get rid of chain immigration, let’s get rid of the visa lottery program, and reduce immigration by 25 percent—almost all of them are unskilled laborers—and have an opportunity for the American labor force to adjust until we get stronger wage growth and stronger employment opportunities for the very people who are being competed against by the legal immigrants coming into this country. We’re very clear about how this is not just an illegal immigration problem, this is an immigration problem that we have deal with both comprehensively—and I hate to use the word ‘comprehensive’ when discussing immigration—to have an immigration control plan that deals with both legal and illegal immigration.

When it comes to trade, Santorum told Breitbart News that it’s time for Republicans—as Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has called for—to start standing up for American workers. Santorum continued:

I opposed the NAFTA, and I did so because I didn’t believe it would be in. So I voted no. And looking back, I’m very glad I voted no. I don’t think that program has worked out well for America, and on the same grounds I’m very concerned about other trade deals that are now being kicked around and that is trade deals that have to do with non-tariff barriers that are creating problems like currency manipulation which is pretty much what happened in the Mexican deal. There was an evaluation of the peso right after the NAFTA deal went into effect. There’s all sorts of things that governments can do that are outside the purview of and should not be taken into consideration in these trade deals that really put America and American workers at a great disadvantage. I see a president, I see even a Congress that has other agendas than protecting the American worker and making sure America does better under these deals—for example Climate Change and promoting rights for different minority groups including gays and lesbians. Those are all well and good, I want to make sure we protect human rights too, but this is a trade deal. You have got to make sure you’re looking after the interests of America and American workers first and foremost.

Overall, he added, Mexico “is a problem” and the United States needs to get tougher on her southern neighbor.

“The reality is Mexico is a problem and we need to bring them to the table, and if they’re not going to come to the table and cooperate on the border, then they’re going to have to pay a price for it,” Santorum said.

Santorum, in this Breitbart News exclusive, also ripped President Barack Obama for attacking Republicans this week on the Iran nuclear deal—where Obama compared Republicans to Iranians who chant “death to America.” Santorum said of Obama:

He’s been so unsuccessful in Washington in pushing virtually anything through the Congress because anytime he disagrees with somebody it quickly devolves into a diatribe against them personally and he castigates them.  This is so destructive of the entire process. We need someone who’s going to be able to go to Washington, D.C., and be able to get things done and not someone who’s going to play politics and play the Washington insider game and pillage and destroy. I was as tough a reformer, as tough a sharp elbows guy in Washington as anybody and went to Washington, D.C., as an outsider. One of the things I’m most proud of is I stayed an outsider and I got things done like an insider if you will. That to me is a real testament. If you can remain an outside for 12 years and get things done that even insiders can’t get done, you have the combination of someone who’s accountable and remembers where they came from and you have someone who can get inside the arena and take care of business.

Santorum also said Republicans in Congress should be fighting to defund Planned Parenthood — after the gruesome covert videos showing the organization’s executives seeking to sell aborted baby body parts surfaced — rather than backing down.

Santorum said of defunding Planned Parenthood:

This is—you’re talking about the treatment of human beings in the most despicable way, in the most barbaric way by an organization that has a long history of dehumanizing people, everything back to Margaret Sanger and her history of dehumanizing blacks. This is an organization that does very, very, very little good, and the good they do can be done by a lot of other organizations that are not so steeped in horrific actions.

Santorum, overall, told Breitbart News he’s excited for the debates. He’ll be on the undercard stage which opens at 5 p.m.

“Establishing your base if you will, this first debate is an opportunity to introduce yourself to folks,” Santorum said of his thoughts on the first debate. “I know people say, ‘Oh you ran last time,’ but I haven’t necessarily been out there in front of the cameras for the last three years, so it’s really an opportunity for folks to remember a little bit but also see maybe a little different twist on some of the things I talked about last time.”


Comment count on this article reflects comments made on Breitbart.com and Facebook. Visit Breitbart's Facebook Page.