Rep. Cotton Challenges Sen. Pryor's Weakness on Immigration

Tuesday, 05 Aug 2014 06:30 PM

By Greg Richter

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Rep. Tom Cotton's race to unseat Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor has been called the GOP's best chance to flip an incumbent Democratic seat in November's midterm elections, and Cotton's latest TV ad hits a possible Democratic weak spot: immigration.

"Sen. Mark Pryor voted for amnesty, citizenship for illegals. Pryor voted against a border fence three times. And now Pryor ignores the crisis," an announcer says in the ad. He is followed by a clip of Pryor telling a TV anchor, "We have a much more secure border today than we did 10 years ago."

Story continues below video.

The ad has come under fire from Pryor supporters, but Cotton defends it.

"We have a crisis at our border. It's in chaos," Cotton said Tuesday on Fox News Channel's "Your World With Neil Cavuto."

"And the chief cause of that crisis is Barack Obama's refusal to enforce our immigration laws."

Cotton touted immigration legislation passed by the Republican House, including Cotton, just before the start of the August recess. That same legislation was rejected by Democrats in the Senate, including Pryor.

It isn't surprising that hundreds of thousands more people are trying to cross the border illegally "before the amnesty clock expires," Pryor told Fox News.

He blamed Obama for suspending deportation two years ago of some illegals who came to the country as children. He also said Pryor has voted to extend amnesty to almost 12 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States.

"Word gets out very quickly across the world when American politicians don't have the willpower to enforce our borders and enforce our immigration laws," Cotton said.

The tens of thousands of children currently flooding the border from Central America say they are fleeing crime and poverty, but Cotton argued that opening U.S. borders to everyone who comes from a high-crime country would stop the United States from being a sovereign country.

Instead, he said, the U.S. government should encourage them to apply for asylum if they have a legitimate case.

Pryor's campaign called the ad misleading, saying the quote used was taken out of context as part of a larger response in which Pryor disagreed with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that the border is completely secure.

"On the issue of amnesty, the ad's only citation is Pryor's support for a widely bipartisan and comprehensive immigration reform bill, which was supported by prominent Republicans like Sen. John McCain, Marco Rubio and others who all vocally denounced the notion that the legislation contained amnesty for immigrants entering the country illegally," a press release from Pryor's campaign said.

Democrats had moved to make immigration their midterm issue after support for Obamacare dropped soon after its disastrous rollout. But the scenes of thousands of children crossing the border and surrendering to Border Patrol agents has sent Democrats in vulnerable races fleeing from the administration as well.

Also, the unexpected defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by David Brat in Virginia renewed the tea party faction's vigor on what it terms an anti-amnesty stance.

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