Both 1st Congressional District GOP incumbent David Davis and Republican challenger Phil Roe take hard-line positions on illegal immigration.
Davis indicates he knows exactly what people are thinking on the subject.
“People in Northeast Tennessee are very generous people,” he said. “They understand if you have a guest, the guest comes and visits but always goes back home. They understand that illegal means illegal, and we have a rule of law in America, and amnesty is not an option.”
Roe, Johnson City’s mayor, is an advocate of building a fence on the U.S. southern border to keep illegals out.
“We have to have some way to control the border, whether it’s a virtual fence, an electronic fence or a real barrier,” Roe said. “The reason for that is you never solve the problem if you don’t stem the flow of illegals. A fence will work. I spent 13 months of my life (as a U.S. Army veteran) near a fence in Korea. I know it works. ... The American people want that done.”
Davis said he visited the southern border and rode with border patrol agents last January.
“Where I saw a well-maintained fence, technology in place and personnel in adequate numbers, people were not getting across the border,” Davis said. “The night I was there 95 pounds of marijuana was seized. The area I went out to where there wasn’t an adequate fence was very disturbing to me. We need a fence across the whole southern border. ... Some cuts to the fence have been in some bills I have voted against.”
During his freshman term, Davis has signed on to at least five bills targeting illegal immigration, including: legislation limiting citizenship sponsors to spouses and children of permanent resident aliens; a bill limiting citizenship to children born in the United States; a bill allowing federal officials to work with local law enforcement agencies to enforce immigration laws; and a bill prohibiting states from issuing driver’s licenses or other identification documents to illegal aliens.
Davis, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the legislation with the best chance of being passed by Congress is the “SAVE Act,” which calls for border protection and providing employers with an employee verification system so that jobs are not provided to illegal aliens.
More than 150 co-sponsors have signed on to the bill. Its prime sponsor is U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C.
In his talks around the district, Roe points out that credit card technology could be used to identify aliens in a guest worker program.
“I was in Hawkins County, a farm community ... and the farmers need the workers, and they can’t find local people to do this work anymore,” Roe said. “When you have a willing worker and a willing employer, there ought to be a seamless way you can put those people together so they can get the job done. ... But people who hire illegals have to share the responsibility, too.”
Davis and Roe will square off in the Aug. 7 GOP primary.
For more about Roe go to www.roe4congress.com.
For more about Davis go to www.rightforcongress.com.