In what appears to be senatorial candidate Cory Gardner’s first direct comment on his vote against ending an Obama policy of allowing young undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation for at least two years, Gardner emphasized the legal “ambiguities” in ending Obama’s initiative, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Gardner said on KNUS radio Sept 4 that the bill overturning DACA “had some serious legal ambiguities to it…you create a significant legal ambiguity problem that’s going to lead to children having the rug pulled out from underneath them, winding us in court, and creating a judicial ambiguity that is unacceptable in this country.”
It makes sense that in his conversation with KNUS radio host Jimmy Sengenberger Sept. 2, Gardner de-emphasized the human costs of deporting the young immigrants, called dreamers, who were brought here as children and know only the United States as their home. It was mostly legal ambiguities that apparently troubled him.
This is consistent with Gardner’s longstanding view that border security issues need to be solved to his unspecified satisfaction before consideration is given to the dreamers.
And that’s still Gardner’s position, as reported by The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews over the weekend:
There’s a story that Rep. Cory Gardner likes to tell when he’s asked about his position on illegal immigration. Although the details sometimes vary, it always involves a high school student from rural Colorado whom he met several years ago. When they meet for the first time, the young woman — whom Gardner doesn’t mention by name — is on pace to become valedictorian. But because she was brought into the U.S. illegally as a baby, she’s unable to attend college in Colorado at in-state rates. So she asks Gardner whether he supports changing the rules right away so she can afford a higher education. His response then — as it is now — is no. “Allowing passage of such a policy was avoiding the real problem,” Gardner recounted in testimony to Congress last year. “We can’t start with in-state tuition because we have to pursue meaningful immigration reform first.”
Fast-forward a few years. Gardner meets the young woman again — this time working at a restaurant in that same rural town. “The valedictorian of her high school, waiting tables,” he said with a downward glance.
The lesson, according to Gardner, is that Congress needs to get serious about passing immigration reform. But in such a way that it addresses security first — before tackling the needs of students such as that valedictorian-turned-waitress.
In light of this, what doesn’t make sense is another Gardner quote in the same Denver Post article, in which Gardner explains his June 6, 2013, vote to end DACA, subjecting the dreamers to deportation.
Gardner told The Post in a statement, “The immigration debate is in a different place than it was.”
Then why does Gardner still stand opposed, as Matthews put it, to “tackling the needs of students such as that valedictorian-turned-waitress?”
Why is Gardner still talking about “legal ambiguities” rather than the dreamers’ humanitarian plight, if, indeed, immigration reform is in a different place than it was?
What different place is it in now, versus last June? What gives?