(WASHINGTON) — Some Senate candidates are walking fine lines on immigration policy after Friday’s announcement by the Department of Homeland Security, which has highlighted near-rifts between those candidates and their parties.
In Massachusetts, Republican Sen. Scott Brown criticized Obama and the DREAM Act while expressing openness to the legislation’s most basic policy tenet. Brown is engaged in a competitive reelection battle against Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.
“I opposed this policy in legislative form, and I oppose it today as an executive order,” Brown said, in a statement e-mailed in response to media requests. “While I’d be open to allowing young people who have chosen military service to obtain citizenship in recognition of the extraordinary sacrifice involved, I’m afraid that the administration’s policy is too broad and would set off a new wave of illegal immigration, making the problem worse, not better. … Rather than sidestepping Congress on this major policy shift, the president should work with us toward a bipartisan, long-term solution.”
Warren, meanwhile, offered unabashed support for the DHS move, which will halt deportations of young illegal immigrants.
In Nevada, Republican Sen. Dean Heller criticized Obama while offering the same critique Florida Sen. Marco Rubio lodged — that the DHS decision is not a long-term solution. “However, the president has had three years to work with Congress to reform the immigration system and help undocumented children. Unilateral action by the administration will not provide a long-term solution to this very serious issue,” Heller said. “Democrats and Republicans need to come together to solve this problem.”
In Nevada, 15 percent of 2008 voters were Hispanic, according to exit polls. They backed Barack Obama over John McCain 76 percent to 22 percent.
Like Warren, Heller’s opponent Shelly Berkley backed the new policy and called for passage of the DREAM Act, which would grant young illegals a pathway to citizenship if they join the military or complete some college education.
New Mexico Republican Heather Wilson, similarly sympathetic toward young illegal immigrants, offered hopeful remarks for Sen. Rubio’s DREAM-Act-like proposal, which does not include citizenship provisions.
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