One of the major issues in the midterm election is immigration reform. After the economy, states along the border with Mexico have had some debates about immigration. The most recent GOP faux pas came from Sharron Angle of Nevada, calling a group of Hispanic high-school students "Asian," which led to audible gasps from the audience. Other Republican candidates for office have come under fire for their stances on immigration, including one in a Midwestern state not known for its tough stance on immigration.
Meg Whitman of California
One of the most heated states with a race for governor is California. With one of the largest economies in the world and a huge population, the economic downturn has forced California to trim billions of dollars from its budget. However recent debates and advertisements have focused on illegal immigration.
Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate, states on her website that she is "100% opposed to any form of amnesty. As governor, she will advocate for a comprehensive federal immigration solution that secures the border." Yet at the end of September, her opponent Jerry Brown's campaign said "we learn that accountability doesn't extend to her own actions," referring to holding the federal government responsible for enforcing immigration laws, according to the AP.
Most disturbing to me is that Whitman initially didn't take responsibility for the gaffe. She responded to the allegations by saying, "It's not an obligation of the employer to turn in illegal employees." That's true, but it is illegal to hire an illegal immigrant in the first place.
Roy Blunt of Missouri
The latest hypocrisy comes from allegations in Missouri that Rep. Roy Blunt hired an illegal immigrant 20 years ago as he served as secretary of state in Missouri. The Associated Press reports that in August 1990 Blunt's wife at the time employed a Nicaraguan who was seeking asylum in the United States.
Blunt calls the allegations, made on Oct. 19, underhanded by the Democrats as a letter was obtained from the secretary of state's office. Missouri's current secretary of state is Blunt's Democratic rival in the Senate race, Robin Carnahan. Blunt says the Carnahan camp is "just plain crazy." Meanwhile the Democrats in Missouri say that Blunt "hired an illegal worker and used his official office and Washington connections" to expedite the immigrant's request. Blunt says he was helping a constituent. Dems say he was using his office for personal gain.
At issue is that Dora Narvaez was having trouble with her asylum request in Los Angeles and was asking that her file be transferred to Kansas City. Blunt used an official letterhead of the state of Missouri to ask the head of the INS at the time for assistance. Blunt's website lists no official stance on immigration reform, but he has repeatedly voted for issues in Congress that denote his tough stance on border security, according to OnTheIssues.org.
Meg Whitman's case will likely be more damaging in a close race against Jerry Brown. Roy Blunt's allegations are brand new and he still holds a double-digit lead in the polls over his opponent Robin Carnahan. It will be some time to see how the Democrats use their small advantage in a state where immigration reform is low on the list of priorities. The Missouri race interests me not only because it is my home state but also because if Carnahan is elected it will be the first time in Missouri history that both Senators from Missouri would be women.