In response to a public Congressional hearing on immigration that was held in Dubuque on Friday, Democratic candidate Bruce Braley issued a press release challenging opponent Mike Whalen to pledge that he has never hired an illegal immigrant.
Braley also got a good article in the Des Moines Register
about his views on illegal immigration. He claims that he's against amnesty for illegals, but in the same breath says they should be allowed to stay here. He thinks they should have to pay a fine and back-Social Security payments covering their time of illegal employment."It has to be meaningful punishment and that is something Congress has to decide because the cost of deporting 12 million illegal immigrants would be over $200 billion," Braley said. "With rising deficits, taxpayers can't afford that, so we have to come up with a more creative way of addressing the problem."Braley said, for example, that all illegal workers would be required to make back payments on Social Security and other taxes that they failed to pay while working illegally.
Whalen spokesman Brian Dumas does a good job of taking Braley to task for his contradictory viewpoints.Dumas also took issue with Braley's statement that he opposes amnesty. "You can't have it both ways. Bruce Braley is not willing to deport illegal immigrants. That means he's in favor of amnesty."
I find it interesting that Braley is now trying to go on the attack on an issue that the Democrats wrote off as a Republican wedge issue during the primary. Immigration is a big issue, even in Iowa, so I think Braley can gain by doing this. I'm not sure though, that his stance is the right one to take. To "oppose" amnesty is the right thing to do, but to then say that their retribution (paying a fine rather than returning home) is not. How does Braley think the illegals working in Iowa are going to be able to afford to pay steep fines AND back payments to Social Security?
Braley called the Congressional hearings in Dubuque a political stunt. I think his false solution to the illegal immigration problem is no better.