October 21, 2014

A "porous" southern border is not just an illegal immigration issue, but should be considered a threat to national security, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott told more than 120 Sun City Hilton Head voters Tuesday during a campaign stop.

"National security should be woven into the conversation," Scott said. "The fact of the matter is, if you can walk across looking for work, then you can walk across looking to do harm."

The S.C. Republican spoke at length about national security, party politics and fiscal policy after a boisterous standing ovation from the crowd when he arrived at the Sun City Hilton Head pavilion.

Scott is seeking to serve the final two years of a term won by Jim DeMint, who left the Senate in January 2013 to take the helm of the Heritage Foundation. Scott had just won a second term to represent the 1st Congressional District when Gov. Nikki Haley appointed him to DeMint's seat.

Scott faces a challenge from Richland County Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson, the Democratic nominee, and Jill Bossi of the American Party in the Nov. 4 election.

Scott held a 20-point lead over Dickerson in the latest Winthrop University poll, released earlier this month.

Fielding those questions Tuesday at Sun City, Scott tackled several topics:


Scott supports adding more border patrol agents, installing more fences and improving surveillance to cut down on those crossing illegally. He also supports changes to the work visa program to better police those who stay past their visa's expiration.

National security

Scott says border security is an integral part of national security. He also supports expanding the military. Tapping more U.S. oil could also disrupt the cashflow to terrorist organizations, such as ISIL, he added.

"Take a look at the world as it is, not as you want it to be, and be prepared to defend it," he said. "If we don't, it'll be on our doorstep."

Washington politics

Scott said he has found allies on both sides of the aisle, such as Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., on school choice programs and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. He added that Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-Spartanburg, is his closest partner on Capitol Hill.

On Tuesday, Scott stood by his call to the Obama administration to place a travel ban on those coming to the U.S. from countries experiencing Ebola outbreaks. Screenings are a start, but a ban would strengthen those protections, he said.

"We need to have a panoramic perspective to make sure that we have as much good health in America as possible," Scott said.

Dickerson has told The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette that she would support similar visa reforms, but that she would not support an Ebola travel ban. Attempts to reach Dickerson on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Bossi has written on her website she would support comprehensive immigration reform, calling more fences and patrolling of the southern border impractical. She also has lambasted the political establishment and both parties on her blog for "collusion and corruption in our political process."