In a short press conference at the Canyon County Courthouse in Caldwell Monday, Vaughn Ward, running against state Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, for the right to face Democratic incumbent Walt Minnick in November in Idaho's 1st Congressional District, offered voters his own three-pronged approach to cure the immigration woes of the United States. Canyon County prosecutor John Bujak was slated to join Ward, but canceled because he was occupied with the duties of his office.
The first step to solve the crisis, said Ward, is to secure the borders because that will allow the country to stop those entering illegally for purposes of delivering drugs or committing other illegal acts. Next, said Ward, Congress and law enforcement officials must enforce the laws that are currently on the books. Arizona, which has passed what is likely the strictest immigration law in the nation, is right to do so, said Ward, because there is no leadership on the immigration issue on the national level. He said that reform must come in the form of a comprehensive and complete package, and not piece-meal legislation that only confuses those tasked with enforcing the law. Finally, the country must deny amnesty to those who have come into the country illegally. "If your first action to come into this country is to break our laws, I do not think that then you extend the right of citizenship to those that are breaking our laws," he said.
Ward also took shots at Labrador, an immigration attorney. "Experts in immigration law are fighting to keep the illegal aliens here, and since the federal government is not aggressive enough at our borders, the immigration lawyers and illegal aliens are winning the battle," said Ward. Labrador has said that his experience in immigration law makes him an expert on the matter and the right man to solve the immigration crisis.
The approach offered by Ward is similar to Labrador’s plan for immigration, given in a press conference Tuesday, but there is one stark difference in the thoughts of the two candidates. During his speech on immigration, Labrador called on President Barack Obama to send National Guard troops to the border to help stop the flow of illegal aliens into the southern states. When asked if he thought if that is a proper tactic to secure the borders, Ward said that troops are not necessary in the short-term, but he didn't rule it out in the long-term. He said that his plan should be enacted and given a trial before members of the military are sent to the border. "That may become a future issue, but I'm not willing today to redirect military forces down to the border until you've shown me that we have taken every step we can with current resources," Ward said.
Immigration will likely be a hot-button issue at Tuesday night's 1st Congressional District debate at the Capitol in Boise. Labrador and Ward will square off in the event, set to be broadcast over Idaho Public Television. That will take place at 8 Mountain Time/7 Pacific Time.
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