Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Lynn Jenkins and Congressional Challengers Differ on Immigration, Foreign Policy, Trump

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Lynn Jenkins and Congressional Challengers Differ on Immigration, Foreign Policy, Trump

Article excerpt

On such topics as foreign policy and immigration, clear policy disagreements separate the three candidates for Congress in the state's 2nd District.

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Republican campaigning for a fifth term in Congress, is being challenged by Britani Potter, an Ottawa Democrat, and James Houston Bales, a Libertarian who lives in Lawrence. The 2nd District includes Topeka, Lawrence, northeast Kansas and southeast Kansas.

As part of The Topeka Capital-Journal's 2016 voter guide, the three candidates were asked whether undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. should be given a path to American citizenship.

All three candidates made clear their support for legal immigration and the American Dream immigrants desire. From there, however, their answers varied widely.

"At the same time, we must secure our borders and refuse to grant amnesty to those who violate our laws," Jenkins said. "We also cannot ignore the gaping holes that exist along our southwest border. The current crisis there demonstrates what happens when vague policies meet poor enforcement. This is a matter of national security."

Beyond not granting amnesty, the congresswoman didn't say what, if anything, the federal government should do about the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Her party's presidential nominee, Donald Trump, has made his support for a 50-foot wall along the southern border and mass deportations a bedrock of his campaign.

Potter and Bales, on the other hand, said they support a path to citizenship for working, law-abiding immigrants.

"This is the American way," Potter said. "Ideas like walls and mass deportations would cost the taxpayers billions and would accomplish little. A path to citizenship would allow immigrants to get drivers licenses and purchase insurance, and pay taxes, which will then help fund Social Security and reduce the deficit."

She agreed with Jenkins' belief in better border security and stressed that undocumented immigrants convicted of a crime will have worn out their welcome.

"For those people already here," Bales said, "there needs to be a path to some sort of legal status to enable them to legally contribute to our society."

Bales said he would relax restrictions on legal immigration and work permits. For immigrants who have settled in the U.S., the government should create a fast track to citizenship, he wrote.

"Good citizenship should be rewarded, regardless of the nation of your birth, and easier, clearer paths will make people less likely to risk breaking the law for a chance at the American Dream," Bales said.

On the topic of foreign policy, the three were asked to what extent the U.S. military should involve itself in Middle Eastern conflicts, such as Syria's civil war. …

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