Illegal immigration emerging again as issue in 7th District campaign

Type:  Daily Newspaper Report Quoting William Gheen Source: The Wilmington Star
Date: 10/3/2012 Author: Patrick Gannon

As U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre touted the endorsement of an anti-illegal immigration group Tuesday, David Rouzer said politicians like McIntyre have done too little to address the immigration issue in Washington.

Rouzer, a two-term state senator from Johnston County, is challenging McIntyre, the eight-term congressman from Lumberton, in the November election in the 7th Congressional District.

On Tuesday, McIntyre sent out a news release plugging his endorsement by Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, a vocal anti-illegal immigration group. ALIPAC had supported Republican Ilario Pantano against McIntyre in 2010 but chose McIntyre over Rouzer in 2012.

ALIPAC said McIntyre has co-sponsored legislation to reject all forms of amnesty for illegal immigrants, opposes President Barack Obama’s “deferred action” amnesty, attends anti-illegal immigration events and has made border security a top campaign issue. McIntyre recently visited the U.S./Mexico border to learn more about border enforcement and immigration laws, the group noted.

“We are happy to return our endorsement to Congressman Mike McIntyre,” said ALIPAC’s William Gheen. “His opposition to any form of amnesty for illegal immigrants makes him a clear choice over David Rouzer, who supports AgJobs amnesty for illegals.”

Gheen referred to Rouzer’s former work as a lobbyist in Washington, when he lobbied on behalf of a 2007 agriculture bill that would have provided amnesty to many illegal immigrant farm workers.

The endorsement coincides with a new TV ad the McIntyre campaign is running in the Wilmington and Raleigh television markets that criticizes Rouzer for his support of the agriculture bill.

Rouzer, who also faced criticism from Pantano over that bill during the GOP primary race, has said that his career has focused on solutions and that the legislation was a proposal to help farmers find enough labor to get their crops out of the field. It never passed.

He said the federal government has failed to put in place common-sense solutions so employers can get the labor they need.

“You’re either going to import food or you’re going to import workers,” Rouzer said earlier this year. “We in this country, we need to decide what we’re going to do.”

The Rouzer campaign said Tuesday that McIntyre “has had 16 years to tackle our immigration problem, but all he’s provided is too much talk and too little action.”

The campaign also said Rouzer is proud of his work to try to help farmers with labor problems.

Both candidates talk tough on illegal immigration.

Along with guest worker programs to help employers find laborers, Rouzer said he supports securing the Mexico border with a double fence by the end of 2013 and deporting illegals with a criminal record immediately.

McIntyre, according to campaign materials, opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants currently living in the United States and supports increased border security and workplace enforcement. He has co-sponsored bills that would encourage the adoption of English as the official language and mandate the prosecution and deportations of criminal illegal aliens.