Breaking With GOP, Huntsman Says Idea Of Border Fence ‘Repulses’ Him

As ThinkProgress has reported, former Republican Utah Gov. Jon Hunstman has strong progressive streak that he may prefer people forget as he considers pursuing the GOP presidential nomination. On immigration, for example, Huntsman has supported a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants and something akin to the DREAM act, breaking with the nativists who have come to dominate Republican immigration thinking after President Bush’s reform effort collapsed. When asked about immigration at a town hall event in New Hampshire on Friday, Huntsman said he “hates the thought” of a border fence because “it’s not consistent with” American ideals:

HUNTSMAN: I hate the thought of a fence on the border. I mean, for me, as an American, the thought of a fence, it to some extent repulses me, because it’s not consistent with our overall — the image that we projected from the very beginning to the rest of the world. But the situation is such that I don’t think we have a choice.

Watch a video of the event shot by the Salt Lake City Tribune (edited by ThinkProgress for length):


Ultimately, Huntsman concluded in the town hall, a fence may be necessary as he said it’s important to secure the border. But Huntsman’s tone on the fence — which has become somewhat fetishized on the right, most explicitly in Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) infamous “complete the danged fence” ad — may be a problem for Huntsman among GOP primary voters. Already, a message board hosted by the anti-immigrant ALIPAC is brimming with fury over Huntsman’s comments, such as warning of “Idiot Alert” and “do not trust this person.” Another poster adds: “Well then, Huntsman repulses me.”