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Race for Congress: Where they stand on immigration

In the first of an occasional series examining positions of candidates for Congress representing Eastern Washington, we asked incumbent Cathy McMorris Rodgers and her opponent, former state Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, about immigration policy.

Kip Hillkiph@spokesman.com

Select issue:

Lisa Brown (Democrat)

Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Republican)

THE WALL

Do you support President Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall at the Mexican border?

Lisa Brown - No

No

“I think that border security is something that makes a lot of sense. I don’t think walls, necessarily, make sense,” Brown said.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers - Mostly

Mostly

McMorris Rodgers supports funding for the wall, but said it may not be a physical barrier in all locations. “New technology, I think, is going to vary along that southern border. But I have supported what the president has requested to date,” she said.

REFUGEES

Do you support reductions made by Trump to the number of refugees that can be admitted annually into the United States? If not, how many refugees should be allowed to enter?

Lisa Brown - No

No

“I don’t think an arbitrary number is the right approach,” Brown said.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers - Partially

Partially

McMorris Rodgers said she supports a number larger than the 45,000 refugees the Trump administration authorized for 2018, but less than the 85,000 the administration of President Barack Obama admitted in its final year.

Do you support the ban on immigration from seven countries, including Chad, Libya and Iran?

Lisa Brown - No

No

“I don’t agree with a ban on people from an entire country,” Brown said.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers - Yes

Yes

McMorris Rodgers said she supported Trump’s order as “a pause” on immigration to evaluate the admission process.

FAMILY TIES VS. SKILLS

Should the U.S. end or significantly cut family reunification visas, as the president has proposed, and instead allow more migrants in based on education and job skills?

Lisa Brown - No

No

Brown said she has not seen evidence that family reunification visas are causing problems.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers - Yes

Yes

McMorris Rodgers said so-called “chain migration,” particularly definitions of which family members would qualify, should be re-evaluated.

ENFORCEMENT

Should local law enforcement agencies detain people they suspect of being in the country illegally even if there is no other basis for detaining them?

Lisa Brown - No

No

Brown supports the policy of the City of Spokane, codified by the City Council, which prohibits officers from asking about the citizenship status of people they question.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers - Yes

Yes

McMorris Rodgers said local law enforcement should work with federal officials.

“When they come across someone that is here illegally, they should be working with the federal agents on those cases,” McMorris Rodgers said. The congresswoman said she believed that should include detention and jailing.

Do you support spot checks by immigration authorities at agricultural sites to ensure workers are legally in the country?

Lisa Brown - No

No

“Farmers and agricultural employers have enough challenges right now. Federal agencies should be working with them to resolve workforce shortages,” Brown said in a statement.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers - No

No

McMorris Rodgers said in a statement from her campaign, “I do believe in the need to enforce rule of law, but we should be focusing on removing dangerous criminals.”

GUEST WORKERS

Many Washington farmers say they have trouble filling farm jobs with Americans, but find it's not cost-effective to bring in guest workers, do you support current rules or are there specific changes you support.

Lisa Brown - Yes

Yes

Brown supports revisions to current law, including changes to the visa permitting foreign workers to take temporary agriculture jobs (called the H-2A visa) but she said she needs to study the issue more to determine what changes should be made.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers - Yes

Yes

“The current program includes cost of transportation, housing and a modified prevailing wage. I think all of that needs to be looked at,” McMorris Rodgers said.

DACA

Do you support a path to citizenship to undocumented residents who came to the United States as children with their parents?

Lisa Brown - Yes

Yes

Congress should codify the existing program, Brown said. “I think the rest of it should be subject to negotiation … I don’t have the ideal immigration policy sketched out. I’ll work on the details of that as we go forward,” she said.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers - Yes

Yes

McMorris Rodgers said she supported “a legal status that could be reviewed on a regular basis and eventually become permanent.” Applicants would have to meet “certain criteria” over time to apply for citizenship, she said.