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Eye On Boise

GOP lawmakers clash on immigration

Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake, put out a press release this morning calling on Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, to withdraw from the 1st District congressional race, just as the GOP candidate was formally announcing his candidacy. "Raul Labrador is an immigration attorney and admits to defending illegal immigrants in his law practice," Jorgenson declared in his release. "His pro-illegal immigrant stances are wrong for Idaho taxpayers and Idaho's unemployed." Asked why he sent out the release, Jorgenson said, "The fact that he's running for the 1st Congressional District and I have very strong feelings against what his established record is in that area." Jorgenson has been the sponsor of several unsuccessful anti-immigration bills in the Legislature focused on Idaho employers. "I've had many debates and discussions with Raul Labrador and I do know his history on this," Jorgenson said.

Labrador, asked about the Hayden Lake senator's move during his Boise announcement, didn't mince words. "You know, Sen. Jorgenson is usually a person who doesn't have a lot of friends," Labrador said. "So I wouldn't worry too much about what Sen. Jorgenson has to say."

He added, "The immigration issue is one of the most important issues facing America today, and we have a broken immigration system, and I'm the only candidate in this race who actually understands the immigration issue, because I'm actually somebody who has actually studied it and worked on it for many years. We have to have a system where amnesty is not the solution, but we have to have a way that we can solve the immigration problem, and there's good, conservative ways that we can solve this problem."

After his announcement, Labrador told reporters three things are needed to fix the immigration system: 1 - Enforce our current immigration laws; 2 - Put more law enforcement officers at the border and "give them the resources they need to do their job;" and 3 - "We need to have a guest worker program that works ... without amnesty, a guest worker program that puts American workers first."

Said Jorgenson, "My concern is, to me he's demonstrated his position on this issue. I don't want him as a representative for me in a federal office." Jorgenson has endorsed Vaughn Ward in the GOP primary for the 1st CD.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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