Congressional candidates talk immigration at Republican forum - Tucson News Now

Congressional candidates talk immigration at Republican forum

VAIL, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Teenagers asked the questions during Thursday night's Republican primary candidate forum in Vail for Congressional District

Two students helped the League of Women Voters moderate the forum that included Shelley Kais, Martha McSally and Chuck Wooten.

When the topics turned to immigration, Kais cited the surge of unaccompanied migrant children illegally crossing the border. She said the current leaders on Capitol Hill continued to approve funding for an increasing need at the Office of Refugee Resettlement, but no one stopped to research the reason for the need.

“Part of your job, when you have the power of the purse as a representative in Congress, is to ask those questions,” she said.

Kais, a small business owner and former teacher, said her background as a certified government financial manager would help her pay attention to those sorts of details.

“I understand what they've done, how they've done it and I know those things would jump out at me,” said Kais.

While the federal government works with Central American countries to tackle the immigration issue from their end, Wooten suggested the feds cut all foreign aid to countries who allow their citizens to illegally cross into the United States.

“As of this week, there's a total of 75 nations that have invaded us, come into our country unwelcomed and undocumented,” he said.

Wooten, a retired Chief Master Sergeant from the United States Air Force, said he fully supports militarizing the border with Mexico.

“We're losing our sovereignty because of that wide open border,” said Wooten.

The immigration/ debate is a complex situation, according to McSally. She said more focus needs to be on fixing the current legal system for processing immigration cases.

“Right now our system is cumbersome, it's lengthy and it's not reflective of our economy,” she said.

McSally, a retired Colonel from the United States Air Force, said it's important that the immigration system is sensitive to the country's economic needs without incentivizing illegal activity.

“People are graduating from the U of A with STEM degrees, we should be stapling a green card to them,” said McSally. “We're all descendants of immigrants.”

August 26 is election day for the primaries this year. The winner will challenge incumbent Democrat Ron Barber, who is running unopposed.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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