Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko had harsh words for President Barack Obama for the decision by the U.S. Department of Justice to sue Arizona over new laws designed to stop illegal immigration. He also levied criticism at Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick, who also opposes the federal government’s lawsuit.
“It is a signal of the madness infecting the Obama administration and the Democrat-run Congress that instead of spending more money fighting the known crisis that is illegal immigration, it is squandering precious tax dollars in court fighting a state trying to do something about the problem,” Semanko said in a news release.
The state GOP passed a resolution at its party convention last month backing Arizona’s illegal immigration law, which allows police to check the citizenship of anyone they think might be in the country illegally if they have been detained for another possible offense. Semanko also pointed out that a recent poll from Rasmussen Reports showed that only 28 percent of voters think the Department of Justice should challenge Arizona’s law.
Semanko also criticized Minnick’s stance on illegal immigration. Minnick told IdahoReporter.com that he opposed the federal government’s lawsuit and President Obama’s recent speech on immigration, in which the president mentioned a pathway to citizenship for people already living in the U.S. illegally.
“We need to support Arizona and we cannot tolerate Walt Minnick and his pro-amnesty position which would make a bad problem intolerable,” Semanko said. “Idahoans need to ask more questions of why Walt Minnick is ignoring the will of the people in Idaho and America on this issue.”
Minnick’s campaign manager, John Foster, said the Democratic congressman has always opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants. Foster said the GOP chairman should worry more about the stance of Minnick’s challenger in the November election, Republican state Rep. Raul Labrador of Eagle, who works as an immigration lawyer.
"Norm Semanko should learn more about Raul Labrador's record on immigration,” Foster told IdahoReporter.com. “Perhaps it would give Mr. Semanko pause before he made false, misleading attacks on Walt Minnick."
At a Nampa town hall in January, Minnick said he favors immigration reform that would create a system for people living in the country illegally to go before a judge who could hand down punishments, including deportation for some people.