June 5, 2006
The immigration debate is playing an increasing role in the race for Bill Frist’s U.S. Senate seat in this fall’s election. None of the four candidates could be said to be in the pro-immigrant camp. Harld Ford Jr. (Democrat) fails to even mention immigration on his campaign website. He has, however, made public statements against “amnesty” and even voted for H.R.4437, the terrible enforcement-only bill passed by the House last December. Bob Corker (Republican) and Van Hilleary (Republican) both issued statements decrying passage of S.2611, the Senate’s Immigration Compromise bill, with Hilleary expressing his “outrage” over the measure. Corker has a television commercial that shows him discussing immigration as he walks along the Arizona border. Not to be outdone, Ed Bryant (Republican) also traveled all the way to Arizona to see the border for himself, visit with some Minutemen, and help them build a fence to “keep out illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.” He apparently believes the issue is so important for Tennesseans that he has made it the “first part of his plan [for] ‘Securing Tennessee’s Future.'” While there are certainly shades of gray (associating with Minutemen being on the extreme), it is quite clear that none of the candidates believes that a platform of comprehensive immigration reform is going to win a majority of votes in Tennessee this fall.