Wisconsin Senate race candidates clash over immigration policy, keep to party line

MADISON, WIS. (AP) – Ron Johnson wants to take immigration reform one step at a time. Russ Feingold wants to go all in.

Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate candidates’ immigration stances couldn’t be more diametrically opposed, with each aligning closely to his party’s stances. Johnson has become a loud advocate for securing the border first and worrying about those already here later. Feingold, by contast, wants sweeping reforms that include creating ways for people already here illegally to become American citizens.

Johnson, the incumbent Oshkosh Republican, has been pushing for securing the border since he became chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee last year, echoing what has become a key Republican talking point as the campaign season rolls on.

In a report last year, he called the nation’s legal immigration system “horribly broken.” Comprehensive immigration reform can’t happen until the country solves the drivers of illegal immigration — better wages, the president’s unwillingness to turn people away at the border and the U.S. demand for drugs.

The federal government instead should tackle the issue in steps, first by securing the border, Johnson said. That’s a tough task, since no country’s border is 100 percent secure. But Johnson wants to start by gathering better data on illegal border crossings; launching a public relations campaign to keep people off drugs; moving federal agents to crossing hotspots; including shrinking the wage gap between the U.S. and its southern neighbors; and returning unaccompanied minors to their home countries. He’s also called for erecting fencing along high-traffic border areas.

Once that’s done, the nation should turn its attention to people who are already here illegally, Johnson has said.

The senator has called for cutting off federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities that don’t turn people in the country illegally over to federal authorities.

By Fox News Latino
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