Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) attacked his Democratic opponent for what he described as voting “to make undocumented individuals felons” in a debate Monday, underscoring how he has bucked the trend of GOP Senate candidates seizing on hawkish immigration positions amidst a border crisis and threats from President Obama to extend amnesty unilaterally.
Democratic Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) “voted to make undocumented individuals felons, even those people who assist them, including what could be their schoolteacher. Voted to make them felons,” Gardner said.
Gardner also came out in favor of what he called “earned status” as “part” of comprehensive immigration reform when asked whether he favored extending legal status to illegal immigrants, and that “Ultimately I think the DREAM Act is going to be part of the solution.”
Udall voted for the Senate “Gang of Eight” bill in 2013 and criticized House Republicans for not bringing it to the floor for a vote in the debate.
In 2012, Hispanic voters made up 14 percent of all voters in Colorado, according to the Pew Research Center. Gardner, who carried a conservative voting record in the House, has steadily moved left on the issue after entering the Senate campaign against Udall.
In August, he voted against a House bill that sought to prevent Obama from extending executive amnesty to illegal immigrants.