Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez told a talk radio host that if elected, he would send Colorado’s National Guard to defend the Texas border with Mexico if asked by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
“I would certainly step up and do my part,” he said, with his staffers quickly clarifying to the Denver Post that he meant the soldiers would only be sent on a humanitarian mission, not a military one.
The first units of Texas National Guard troops were deployed to the 1,200-mile Texas-Mexico border earlier this week after Perry said the state needed to act to stem the tide of illegal immigrants crossing into the United States. Most of the tens of thousands of undocumented children from Central America who’ve illegally entered the United States since last October have come over the Texas border, according to the Latino Daily News.
During the same interview, Beauprez assured voters undocumented children who crossed the border without their parents wouldn’t be welcome in Colorado while they await court dates.
“They’ve got to stay on the border, Pete,” he told 710 KNUS host Peter Boyles. “To bring them this far inland [sic] makes it that much harder to send them back home.”
“The best thing we can do for those children is keep them with their families and send a clear message that they’re not going to be allowed across the border,” he said at another point in the interview.
Beauprez also said he would roll back state laws that make Colorado an attractive destination for illegal immigrants, including a new program allowing such residents to be issued drivers licenses.
The comments drew some fire from some critics for being out of touch with his state’s growing population of Latino voters.
“Latino voters are very much paying attention to what they see in the media from their representatives,” community activist Tangia Estrada told the Denver Post. “They obviously are going to look for leaders who represent them and lift up their community.”
Beauprez also agreed with Perry’s position that states should act to enforce federal immigration laws if governors decide not enough is being done by the federal government.
“A coalition of like-minded governors can have an enormous impact in getting the federal government to finally get off its duff,” he said. “Who pays the price eventually? It’s the states that get impacted [by federal inaction on immigration enforcement].”
Perry’s National Guard deployment will last for 90 days and cost Texas taxpayers $38 million, Latino Daily News reported.
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