Reid recently took the calculated risk of raising the issue of immigration reform, at least as it pertained to the DREAM Act, with just weeks to go to Election Day. (The DREAM Act was sidelined last week after Republicans blocked it following Reid’s insertion of it into a defense spending bill.)
Reid’s challenge is to focus on reform while courting Hispanic votes. Angle’s challenge is to illustrate her hard-line stance on illegal immigration without further feeding her opponents attempts to portray her as “extreme” and out of touch with the mainstream on the issue.
In this week’s edition of the Immigration Chronicles, we find Reid spokesman Jon Summers and Angle spokesman Jerry Stacy squaring off in a battle to present their favorite candidate’s position on the issue.
“Everyone agrees we need to secure our borders and get a handle on the issue of illegal immigration,” Summers said. “The only way to do that is through immigration reform. But for as loud as the two Arizona senators are complaining about the issue, both have been standing in the way of moving forward on a bill. While Sen. Reid has taken steps to improve border security, including more than $600 million in funding he secured for it a few weeks ago, he believes there is more we need to do to stop the flow of people coming into the country illegally.”
Money alone won’t accomplish that task.
“We need to penalize employers who hire illegal immigrants,” Summers said. “It’s simple, if we don’t hire people coming here illegally, fewer of them will cross the border. In short, we need reform that’s tough on people who break the law, fair to taxpayers and practical to implement.”
And, he argues, the DREAM Act was a focused way to begin to change the way America addresses the immigration issue.
“Despite Republican claims, the DREAM Act is anything but amnesty,” he says. “The proposed amendment to the Defense Authorization bill — which senators would vote on — would allow children who grew up in this country after being brought into it by parents who illegally immigrated here an opportunity to serve in the military as part of a lengthy pathway to citizenship. So even though they were brought into the U.S. at very young ages, through no fault of their own, they would be asked to defend this country if they want to stay here. This would not apply to their parents. It is also worth noting that the Pentagon told The Wall Street Journal that it is a ‘smart’ way to attract quality recruits to the all-volunteer force.”
Stacy counters that Angle’s tough stance is superior to Reid’s toe-in-the-water approach to reform.
“Sen. Harry Reid’s version of immigration ‘reform’ has been exposed,” Stacy says. “Sen. Reid is attempting to attach an amnesty proposal to a defense bill. Sen. Reid says he against ‘piecemeal’ legislation when it comes to sensible programs such as e-Verify, which would ensure that undocumented workers are denied employment, but then abuses his post as majority leader by attempting to pass an unpopular measure against the will of the majority of citizens who oppose rewarding those who break our laws.
“First and foremost, we must secure the borders and enforce the laws that are already on the books. The feds have not been doing their job, and the piecemeal proposals that Senator Harry Reid favors does nothing to address this serious problem.”
Stacy adds that the battle transcends politics.
“Unlike Sen. Reid, Sharron Angle listens to her constituents on the issues that concern them and she is willing to address their concerns at the federal level, something that Sen. Reid fails to do,” Stacy said.
In the coming weeks, the voters will be listening closely to what the candidates have to say about immigration reform.
John L. Smith writes a weekly column on rural Nevada. He also writes four columns a week for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Contact him at 702-383-0295 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.