PERRY, Iowa (AP) - Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has signed a pledge vowing to push for construction of a fence along the entire border with Mexico by the end of 2013.

Bachmann says that illegal immigration costs the U.S. more than $100 million a year and argues securing the border is also a national security issue. Bachmann says she's long pushed for a border fence and signed a pledge by the group Americans For Securing Our Border.

On Saturday, she came to Perry, a town of about 9,800 where the meatpacking industry has left the city about 32 percent Hispanic.

Bachmann rejected suggestions that talking about cracking down on illegal immigrants is racists or anti-Hispanic.

Van Hipp Jr., head of the Securing the Border group, says Bachmann is the first GOP candidate to sign.