Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s hesitancy to establish a clear position on illegal immigration was on full display during an interview Saturday in which the Democratic gubernatorial candidate equivocated when asked if illegal immigrants should be deported.
Northam has proven unwilling to adopt a definitive stance on the question of whether illegal immigrants should be allowed to remain in the country.
Asked whether people in the country illegally should be deported, Northam dodged, telling The New York Times “That’s a federal issue,” and adding that he would “support local law enforcement.”
When pressed on whether he supports sanctuary cities, the former Army doctor has maintained a stance of vague opposition. He says that he does not support the concept but argues that the issue is a politically manufactured distraction since there are no sanctuary cities currently in the commonwealth.
His opponent, Republican Ed Gillespie, has exploited the issue and launched numerous attack ads focused on Northam’s opposition to a 2016 bill that would have prevented Virginia municipalities from defying federal immigration authorities.
Northam said for the first time Wednesday night that he would sign a bill, similar to one he voted against in 2016, that would prevent Virginia municipalities from refusing to comply with federal immigration law. Northam’s admission that he would support the bill sparked backlash among progressive organizations. Democracy for America, a liberal PAC, announced they had removed Northam’s name from their grassroots calling campaign, which they were previously conducting for the entire Democratic ticket. (RELATED: Dem PAC Pulls Grassroots Support For ‘Racist’ Northam Campaign)
“Ralph Northam’s gutless, politically senseless, and morally debased decision yesterday to openly backtrack on his commitment to standing up for immigrant families is a picture-perfect example of why Democracy for America never endorsed him in the primary and focused the entirety of our efforts in Virginia on down-ticket races, like Justin Fairfax’s campaign for Lieutenant Governor,” DFA Executive Director Charles Chamberlain said in a statement.
The founder of the “resistance” group Indivisible responded to Northam’s centrist concession on the question of sanctuary cities by telling him, “find your spine.”
Northam’s office failed to respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment in time for publication.
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