DENVER — Rep. Cory Gardner, a Republican whose bid for the U.S. Senate this fall may tip the balance of power in Congress, told the Associated Press Thursday that he supports granting citizenship to people who came to the country illegally and serve in the U.S. military.
Gardner is running against Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in one of the most competitive Senate races of the 2014 cycle.
According to AP, Gardner thinks most Americans assume immigrants who serve in the military are granted citizenship. He says he can’t think of a better way to demonstrate readiness for citizenship than to serve in the armed forces.
Gardner says he also supports tighter border security and a guest worker program.
Immigrant rights groups have criticized Gardner and House Republicans for not supporting a pathway to citizenship for many of the 11 million people in the country illegally.
As FOX31 Denver reported, immigration reform activists staged a protest at his office Wednesday.
Udall slams Gardner, urges Obama to act alone on immigration
Udall has tried to make immigration reform an issue in the race, even going as far Wednesday as to pressure President Obama to take executive action on immigration reform if the GOP-controlled House continues to block immigration reform.
“If Republicans in Congress won’t act on behalf of Colorado families and businesses or the millions of immigrants living in the shadows, then the president should take action to stop tearing apart families whose only crime is seeking a better life for themselves,” Udall said to KBNO Radio host Fernando Sergio.
His campaign also blasted Gardner, firing off a press release noting that Gardner votes with Rep. Steve King of Iowa, the anti-immigration firebrand in the House, “nine out of 10 times”, referencing Gardner’s vote last favor in support of a King proposal to re-start deportations on young DREAMers brought to the country illegally by their parents.