Tennessee State Rep. Joe Carr told Breitbart News on Tuesday that he is running against Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in the state’s GOP primary for U.S. Senate over Alexander’s vote for the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” immigration bill.
In a phone interview shortly after he announced his candidacy on a local radio station, Carr told Breitbart News exclusively that Alexander’s vote for the Gang of Eight bill “is going to be one of the three critical issues in the campaign going forward.”
“Sen. Alexander’s support of the Gang of Eight Senate bill doesn’t address the problem with the illegal immigration issue in the United States and likewise in Tennessee,” Carr said. “The reason I know something about this is I’m the author and architect of every single significant piece of legislation in Tennessee that deals with immigration, whether it’s E-Verify or no sanctuary cities or identity theft and fraud, it doesn’t matter. I have authored and passed about half a dozen different bills specifically dealing with the activities of illegals in Tennessee and ensuring that Tennessee is a place of enforcing the law when the federal government doesn’t or won’t do so. We’ve been so successful we’ve never been sued, unlike Arizona, South Carolina, Georgia or Alabama. We’ve been very, very successful and I’m very proud of that.”
Carr added that there is no way to know if America’s immigration system is “broken,” as many advocates for amnesty argue, until President Barack Obama actually steps up and enforces the laws already on the books. “My point is this: We don’t know if our immigration laws are broken because what we have is a failure on the part of the president to enforce the law,” Carr said. “So, you don’t know if a law is broken if it’s not being enforced. What we have is we have a broken federal government system and executive branch that refuses to enforce laws. That’s the biggest problem I see. So, until such time as we enforce the law, I think it’s a little disingenuous–in fact, not just a little disingenuous, it’s crazy–to pass any new laws that the president won’t enforce.”
When asked why Sen. Alexander would vote for such a bill, Carr responded: “I don’t know, you’ll have to ask him. Why would any of our senators up there vote for, propose, sponsor or sign onto a 1,200 page bill that essentially grants amnesty to 11 million illegals? Especially with the unemployment problem that we have and the educational problems that we have. We’re going to burden the court system, the healthcare system, the educational system, with 11 million illegals? It defies logic if you’re concerned, like I am, about the sovereignty of the United States.”
Carr said instead of focusing on granting illegal immigrants amnesty, Congress should be focused on getting Americans back to work. “Of course we should,” get Americans back to work before we even deal with those who are here illegally, Carr said. “In fact, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion if we applied the rule of law to everybody equally, but we don’t. That’s the big challenge. Either our immigration laws are the law of the land and they’re to be taken seriously enough to be enforced, or they’re not. If we don’t like a law, we don’t have the luxury of not enforcing it.”
Carr said the Republicans on a national level seem to have been hoodwinked by the Democrats, who have different and more political motives to pass an immigration bill. “There’s an ulterior motive on the part of the Democrats to front load the voter rolls with Democrats,” he said. “The Republicans have bought the lie which escapes logic because we’ve never gotten a plurality of Hispanic voters in a presidential election year. Never. So, I don’t understand the big get here from a political standpoint.”
Ultimately, Carr said there are three major issues thus far he is going to focus his challenge against Alexander on: his vote for the Gang of Eight bill, his voting record’s alignment with President Obama’s policies and his refusal to fight Obamacare by joining Sens. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to defund the healthcare law in the upcoming Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the government.
“Generally speaking, Lamar’s voting record [will be another focus of the campaign],” Carr said. “What I mean by that is this session Lamar has voted with the president 62 percent of the time. President Obama lost to Mitt Romney by over 20 points in Tennessee in 2012. For a U.S. Senator who claims to be a conservative, even though we all know he’s not, yet he votes with Obama 62 percent of the time probably means that he voted against Tennessee 62 percent of the time. I don’t think it’s wise to vote against the taxpayers and citizens or hardworking Americans in Tennessee 62 percent of the time and still keep your job. So, this is going to be a referendum on his job performance.”
“The other third thing is Lamar’s refusal to work with Sens. Lee and Cruz on the defunding of Obamacare via the Continuing Resolution,” Carr added.
Carr thinks there is a distinct possibility that the support various establishment-centered lawmakers around the country had for the Gang of Eight bill, and other immigration proposals, could become 2014’s version of 2010’s Obamacare, which with the Wall Street bailout sparked a massive grassroots uprising that led to the Tea Party movement helping the Republicans take control of the House of Representatives.
“I think it could,” Carr answered when asked if the amnesty bill is shaping up to be 2014’s version of 2010’s Obamacare. “I really do. I hope it does because I think it’s a critical issue, both financially and with regard to the rule of law. The constitutionality of this president to selectively enforce laws and not enforce other laws, I think it’s a potentially huge issue.”
Carr added that Obamacare and immigration are intricately linked as means towards an end of big government. “If Obamacare is the millstone around the neck of the American economy, then illegal immigration is the rope that ties in the healthcare system,” he said. “The two are conjoined together because in many ways once they [illegal immigrants] get in here, they’re going to be getting those taxpayer-funded services that they will not be able to pay for.”