As the already heated discussion around immigration grows hotter and as primary election season around the country draws to a close, Americans for Legal Immigration has announced a list of 20 fresh endorsements in federal races. The group, a lightning rod for controversy for its activist stance against illegal immigration, has endorse incumbent Republicans U.S. Reps. Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman but have yet to weigh in on other Colorado races, although ALIPAC president William Gheen told the Colorado Independent that the group’s endorsements in the state’s contests will be coming soon.
“Colorado is ALIPAC’s 6th largest supporter base behind California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina. Rest assured we will be weighing in on more races there shortly,” he wrote in an email.
He also explained the delay:
We plan to make more endorsements in Colorado within the next two weeks. Our volunteer activists are working hard to collect up candidate surveys and to gather information on the campaigns.
We are about one month behind where we would prefer to be on our candidate endorsements for two reasons. One, we have been focused on our intensive efforts to help pass, defend, and circulate Arizona’s new law SB 1070 which is now being actively debated in 22 states. Two, we have been swamped with so many candidate inquiries and recommendations this year that our volunteers are working overtime to catch up.
The ALIPAC survey asks for background on each candidate and on his or her district and then includes ten questions and a pledge on immigration:
(Please describe your feelings on the following with a number 1-10 or with the response Undecided (1=Strongly Disagree, 2-4=Disagree, 5=Neutral, 6-9 Agree, 10=Strongly Agree)
I support Arizona’s new immigration law SB 1070? (1-10)
As a member of Congress I will use the full power of my office, including impeachment if necessary, to ensure the Executive Branch starts to enforce our existing border and immigration laws? (1-10)
Illegal Immigrants should be deported when detected in the interior of the US? (1-10)
I will oppose any form of Amnesty or path to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently in the US because allowing them to become voters would destroy future immigration enforcement efforts? (1-10)
I support Comprehensive Immigration ENFORCEMENT which will reverse illegal immigration in America? (1-10)
I oppose Obama’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform Amnesty. (1-10)
I oppose Congressman Luis Gutierrez’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform Amnesty bill H.R. 4321? (1-10)
I would have opposed John McCain and Ted Kennedy’s Amnesty bill S. 1033 in 2005? (1-10)
I oppose any non-emergency taxpayer benefits for illegal aliens, including welfare, food stamps, licenses, and in-state tuition subsidies? (1-10)
I believe that employers who intentionally hire illegal aliens should be heavily fined. (1-10)
If elected or re-elected to the US Congress, I will oppose any form of Amnesty or path to citizenship for illegal aliens, including Comprehensive Immigration Reform which would turn millions of illegal immigrants into voters thus destroying future borders of America. I will use the full power of my office, including impeachment if necessary, to insure the Executive Branch secures America’s border immediately and begins to adequately enforce the existing immigration and border laws of the United States, which were enacted by Congress at the behest of America’s citizenry. I understand that the failure of the Executive Branch to secure our borders and enforce existing immigration laws is depriving all Americans of a Republican form of government and depriving our states of protection from invasion as mandated by the US Constitution. I intend to use the power of Congress to immediately remedy this problem that is costing many Americans their jobs, wages, taxpayer resources, property, security, and sometimes their very lives.
So help me God,
(SIGN BY PLACING YOUR NAME HERE AND RETURNING THIS SURVEY AND PLEDGE)
The new round of candidates endorsed today by the group include, Congressman Kenny Marchant of Texas District 24, Mo Brooks (AL-5), Paul Smith (CA-5), Gary Clift (CA-10), Dave Chapman (CA-14), Mark Reed (CA-27), Michael Crimmins (CA-53), Isaac Hayes (IL-2), Teri Davis Newman (IL-12), John Kupiec (MI-5), Andrew “Rocky” Raczkowski (MI-9), Robyn Hamlin (MO-1), Anna Little (NJ-6), William ‘BJ’ Lawson (NC-4), Tom Marino (PA-10), Bob Gibbs (OH-18, David Hall (TN-5), John Faulk (TX-18, Donna Campbell (TX-25), Bryan Underwood (TX-28, and John Koster (WA-2).
In May, ALIPAC made news in Colorado when Gheen made public his disagreement with Colorado anti-illegal immigration champion Tom Tancredo, who is now running for governor on the American Constitutional Party ticket. Gheen said Tancredo was associating with unabashed racist figures who were organizing events in support of Arizona’s new immigration laws, tainting ALIPAC efforts there. Tancredo dismissed ALIPAC’s concerns and ALIPAC pulled out of a June 5 rally in Phoenix that Tancredo spoke at as a result.
In a newsletter to supporters, Gheen explained that he had raised concerns with Tancredo about event organizer Dan Smeriglio, an activist with long ties to “skin heads and Nazis.” Gheen said Tancredo couldn’t be persuaded that Smeriglio’s associations posed a problem, so Gheen took the conversation public.
ALIPAC appears mostly to be endorsing candidates for federal legislative offices and so will not be weighing in on Tancredo’s gubernatorial bid against Republican Dan Maes and Democrat John Hickenlooper.
ALIPAC will certainly be eyeing the U.S. Senate race pitting Sen. Michael Bennet against Weld County DA Ken Buck. Buck drew high praise on the anti-illegal immigration right when with “Operation Numbers Game” he raided a tax preparers office looking for evidence against thousands of undocumented Weld County workers, who Buck suspected of using false identities to file federal tax returns. The raid was later ruled illegal and the evidence thrown out of court.
Buck has made his views of illegal immigration clear over the past year on the stump. In July he gave a brief description of his position to the Denver Post:
I support the Arizona law. I don’t think Arizona wants to be in a position to enact that law, but I don’t think they had a choice. In terms of public safety they needed to act. The federal government’s policy is broken. And there is no movement that I see to fix that policy.
I think we need to secure the border. And I think we need to develop a program to get workers into this country legally much more quickly. I think those are the two issues we need to deal with first. Once we’ve dealt with those issues, then we address the issue of what to do with 12 million or however million people are in this country. I think that if we have a program that gets people into this country quickly and legally, if we have a biometric way of identifying those people and the job they are supposed to have and the length of time they are supposed to be in that job, then the solution is for folks to go back through the system and come here legally if they’re gainfully employed. If they’re not gainfully employed, then perhaps they shouldn’t be here.
Editor’s note: The original version of this post failed to mention ALIPAC’s endorsement of GOP congressman Mike Coffman and Doug Lamborn. The Colorado Independent regrets the omission.