Buck, Norton tussle over illegal immigration amnesty

Republican Senate candidates Ken Buck and Jane Norton jousted Wednesday over who would be tougher on illegal immigration.

Norton seized on a comment by Buck published last month in USA Today to brand him a back-tracker on opposition to amnesty and fired off an ad in which she cited her endorsement by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.

Buck’s campaign, meanwhile, shot back that it’s Norton who can’t be pinned down, and support of her by Arizona Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, shows Norton is a supporter of amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Buck also launched his own radio-ad campaign today, “Norton’s lies.”

“I believe Ken has changed his stripes” on illegal immigration, Norton said in an interview Wednesday.

USA Today said Buck maintained that once the U.S.-Mexico border was secure, he wouldn’t rule out considering a path to legal status for those illegally in the United States.

“I say amnesty is unacceptable,” Norton said. Buck talked to the newspaper “about a path to legal status, and that’s amnesty.”

Buck, however, pointed to Norton’s comments to a group of Hispanic clergy that it would be an “interesting option” if illegal immigrants were to identify themselves to authorities and serve 30 days in jail or community service. They would then have criminal records and go to the back of the line for citizenship.

“I’m not saying it’s the perfect solution,” Norton said. “I have said it was interesting.”

Buck sent out a statement saying his approach had not changed, and he called for secure borders, then an “efficient guest-worker program. Third, no amnesty. People who are here illegally must return to their country of origin and apply for legal immigration status to return to this country.”

That, Norton said, amounts to a “touchback” law under which illegal immigrants could become citizens after going home for only a few weeks.

The 30-day sentence, Buck’s campaign maintained “is nothing more than an amnesty plan.”


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