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Third District GOP congressional hopefuls called for more R&D on illegal immigration – as in round-up and deport.
Speaking at a Tama County Republican forum Monday, six candidates for the GOP nomination to face seven –term Democratic Rep. Leonard Boswell opposed amnesty for illegal aliens and called for tougher enforcement of border security.
“I think we should catch 'em, we should document 'em, make sure we know where they are and where they are going,” said Pat Bertroche, an Urbandale physician. “I actually support micro-chipping them. I can micro-chip my dog so I can find it. Why can't I micro-chip an illegal?
“That's not a popular thing to say, but it's a lot cheaper than building a fence they can tunnel under,” Bertroche said.
There was general agreement the U.S. should build a fence along the southern border, something Boswell also supports.
A fence would be consistent with the protecting and defending the borders, according to Dave Funk of Runnells, who pointed out border security is “one of the 17 enumerated powers in the Constitution.”
Like the other candidates, Funk had disdain for using the politically correct term -- undocumented workers – for people who enter the country illegally.
Calling them undocumented worker “is like calling the drug dealer an unlicensed pharmacist,” Funk said.
Illegal immigration is first and foremost a security issue, Scott Batcher of West Des Moines said.
“If we're allowing illegals to come in, we're probably letting terrorists walk across the border, too,” he said.
“Illegals are killing us financially,” added Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale. Illegal immigrants receive education, health care and other services, often without paying for them, he said.
Like his rivals, Zaun would not support amnesty for illegal immigrants in the U.S.
“All the illegal people who are here, put them on a bus and send them wherever they came from,” he said. “I want what my great-grandfather from Germany went through. They should go through the process that all people who have come to this country have gone through.”
Jim Gibbons of Des Moines called for tighter border security for the same reasons as his rivals. In addition, he said, for those who believe human trafficking is “illegal and immoral, this is a pretty important thing.”
He also spoke of a need “to widen the path to citizenship” because “it shouldn't take 17 years for somebody to become a citizen.”
“I'm really serious about this,” Gibbons said. “We want to know who you are. Why are you here? What your intentions are? And step up and contribute to this country the way it's been done for generations.”
Mark Rees also opposed amnesty and favored deportation. The public has to take some responsibility for the lack of progress on those issues, he said.
“It's our fault that we left politician bury those things that are uncomfortable to talk about,” he said.
Some of the candidates will participate in a forum sponsored by the Benton County Advocates at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Community Bank Building in Vinton.
Jason Lee Welch of Grimes is the seventh candidate from which 3
District GOP voters will choose a nominee in the June 8 primary.