Democratic candidate Pat Murphy found himself in hot water last week after The Daily Caller uncovered his comments saying that if the Central American minors flooding the border aren’t granted citizenship they could become terrorists, and now his Republican challenger is demanding answers.
“This is one of the most irresponsible things I’ve heard a politician say and he should explain himself immediately,” Rod Blum told TheDC. “This is a clear demonstration of the reality that Pat Murphy is not fit to represent the citizens of Iowa’s 1st District.”
Murphy and Blum are running to fill Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley’s seat, which he’s held since 2007. While the Cook Political Report consider’s Iowa’s 1st to be a safe Democratic district, an internal polling memo given to TheDC by Blum’s campaign shows Murphy leading Blum by only 5 points, with 21 percent still undecided — and the poll was conducted before Murphy’s comments came to light.
“If they’re gonna be refugees,” Murphy told Iowa public radio host Ben Kieffer, “which several of them are going to be, we need to make sure that we have — one, we take care of them, and we create a pathway for citizenship and set up education for them so they don’t become the same problem that we’re currently having in the Middle East — that they’ll be terrorists a generation from now.”
Murphy’s comments even caught the attention of Rush Limbaugh, who said that “This is certifiable proof that Democrats — that some Democrats in Iowa are insane.”
“My primary objection to this,” said Blum, “is the notion that we need to pass wholesale amnesty — and that he is using terrorism as the threat of what will happen if we actually stick to the rule of law and secure the border. These scare tactics amount to some sort of disturbing blackmail.”
TheDC reached out to Murphy’s campaign for comment when the story first broke, and was told by a staffer that he didn’t remember that part of the interview, but that he would provide comment later. The campaign has still not explained the comments.
Murphy, a veteran state representative who’s been in office since 1989, has spent nearly three times as much as Blum, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Twenty-seven percent of the money Murphy’s raised comes from PACs like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which proudly bills itself as fighting for the “Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic party.”
Speaking about immigration in May of this year, before he’d secured the Democratic nomination, Murphy said that “I think immigration is an issue where we do need to do something. I will just tell you right now, it’s estimated that there are 13 million Americans that are undocumented. We have to create a pathway to citizenship. The way you create that pathway to citizenship is by allowing people to do community service, allowing them into programs like the AmeriCorps program or other programs like it, where, if they do a certain amount of community service, they’re allowed the opportunity to gain citizenship.”
Reacting to the notion that community service could be the only thing keeping these minors from becoming terrorists, Blum said that “At the end of the day, this was a bizarre argument that managed to be offensive to nearly everyone. This doesn’t represent the common sense values of the citizens of Iowa’s 1st District. They deserve a better immigration policy than that.”
“As of the June 30th FEC filing date Rod had a 2-1 cash advantage on Murphy,” a Blum staffer told TheDC. He noted that Blum is the only Iowa congressional candidate to have such a lead, and that “with 40 perent of the 1st District being registered ‘No Party Preference’ and this being an open seat, this is going to be a very close race.”