Domenici - The Pearce Position

ENFORCEMENT FIRST. Pearce released a TV ad titled "Wrong" which said, "Raising taxes on middle-class families to pay for benefits for undocumented workers is just plain wrong. How did you vote, Tom?" [The Hotline, 9/10/08] In a series of ads on his website titled, "How did you vote, Tom?" Pearce attacked Udall's vote on HR 3963, which, he said, "enacted a $71 billion tax increase and allowed undocumented workers to receive health care benefits." [Steve Pearce for Senate, accessed 9/22/08] Udall denounced the ad, saying it was an "attempt from the Pearce campaign to mislead New Mexicans."[Roll Call, 9/10/08] On his Congressional website, Pearce's immigration position reads, "New Mexico is at the forefront of America's immigration problems. The residents of New Mexico know our nation faces an unprecedented amount of illegal immigration in its recent history. That is why I have supported securing our borders first, through technology and vehicle barriers before we address the legalities of illegal immigrants and their varying statuses. Once our borders' are secure, we take a good hard look at illegal immigration and find better, more accurate and long term solutions that will address guest workers and not quick fixes." [website of Congressman Pearce, accessed 9/22/08]

During Pearce's bruising primary, immigration was an important issue. U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson, his opponent, released an ad which stated, "Why is Steve Pearce running a negative campaign? Because on important issues, he's wrong. Steve Pearce voted against adding 3,000 border guards to secure our border." [The Cook Report, accessed 9/23/08] Pearce attacked Wilson for missing a vote on a bill to crack down on sanctuary cities and wrote a letter saying, "It's tragic that the people's will lost by one vote, since Heather Wilson put her political ambitions above her responsibility as a congresswoman." The mayor of Albuquerque, Martin Chávez, said of Steve Pearce's position, "He helped create this (overall U.S. immigration) mess through his inaction, and now he wants to politicize it." [Albuquerque Journal, 4/18/08]

In 2007, Pearce wrote an opinion piece on his plan to reform the immigration system. Pearce wrote, "No issue facing America today is more emotional on both sides of the issue than immigration…reforming the immigration problem in America is a three-step process: 1) Successful reform to secure our borders; 2) Deal with the 12-15 million illegal immigrants already here; 3) Reform an immigration system that can take 20 years to gain citizenship legally." He wrote that he opposed comprehensive immigration reform and instead favored addressing each aspect of the immigration problem individually. He wrote that he was for a fence, be it physical or virtual, and that if immigrants wanted to come here legally, they should have to return to their home country first and then go to the back of the line. [Editorial; The Hill, 5/2/07]