This fall in Colorado, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is running for Senate against incumbent Democrat Mark Udall, in a state where the electorate is 13% Latino and an environment where Gardner and his House Republicans have done precisely nothing to push immigration reform forward. Today at the Denver Post, Democratic state Reps. Crisanta Duran and Joe Salazar, and state senator Jessie Ulibarri have published the below piece slamming Gardner for his anti-immigrant stances. Read the full piece at the Denver Post or below:
Few people understand what it’s like to live in the shadows of this great country. We go through our daily routine oblivious to the fact that thousands of undocumented Coloradans live in constant fear. Many of these Coloradans came to this state as toddlers with their parents and know no other home than America, than Colorado.
They enjoy Rockies baseball and apple pie, the Fourth of July and barbeques, Broncos tailgates and Thanksgiving. They are smart, ambitious, hard-working and want nothing else than to be able to contribute to our society in a meaningful way.
Two years ago, many of these DREAMers were blessed with a chance to be contributing members of our community through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. Aug. 15 marked the second anniversary of the date that DREAMers in Colorado and across the country could apply to the program to gain relief from deportation. Since then, more than 12,000 DREAMers in Colorado (and more than 550,000 nationally) have received deferred action.
Despite these successes and the fact that a majority of Americans empathize with DREAMers and support a pathway to citizenship for them, a number of radical Republican ideologues have been outspoken critics of DACA.
In Colorado, one of those lawmakers is Congressman Cory Gardner, who is challenging U.S. Sen. Mark Udall. Gardner has voted repeatedly to deport DREAMers and their families — a solution that is not only impossible, but also inhumane.
In fact, his vast voting record, from his days as a state legislator to his current tenure in Congress, along with his public comments demonstrate his disregard for immigrants. And while the Senate has been hard at work crafting and passing a comprehensive, bipartisan bill to address our broken immigration system, Gardner and the rest of the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have taken zero action, refusing to take an up or down vote on the Senate bill or even to offer reasonable solutions of their own.
Funny, though, how running for a statewide seat is now causing Gardner to run from his record in an attempt to woo Latino voters. As an example, earlier this month, before the U.S. House broke for August recess, Gardner did an about-face on DACA. As congressional Republicans are known to do, they took a vote to effectively end DACA. The bill passed with a majority of Republicans voting in favor of the bill.
Conspicuously missing from the group was Gardner. His changed stance, much the same as it is on the issue of personhood, is an insulting and obvious attempt to hide from his long record, a record he has compiled over numerous years, filled with votes against immigrant communities and against DREAMers.
What is even most disturbing about Gardner’s about-face is that he makes clear how little he values the lives, hopes, and dreams of Colorado’s immigrant children. We are not a box to be checked or a focus group to be targeted. These children — our children — are real people whose lives have been negatively impacted by Gardner’s hurtful ideologies and by his long string of negative votes.
As native Coloradans whose families go back hundreds of years in Colorado and the southwest, we have made it our life’s work to support DREAMers and to relentlessly work to fix our broken immigration system. As state legislators, we spearheaded the movement to reverse Colorado’s anti-immigrant policies.
We see through Gardner’s farce. No amount of pandering can erase his career of anti-immigrant and anti-DREAMer legislation. No amount of running can distance Gardner from his negative comments about members of our Colorado community. Trust us when we say that we can tell the difference between a politician who truly supports Colorado’s immigrant population and is working to fix the system, and one who will say anything, but still do nothing, when election time comes around.
What Gardner doesn’t get is that our community’s inherent nature is family – not tearing family apart. We believe in our children – not labeling them to justify harming them. By and large, we are a nation of immigrants and we reject the hypocrisy of people who have benefited from immigration to the US, but who work against immigrant communities.