(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Sen. Cory Gardner (R).
The National Immigration Forum, a national advocacy group, gave Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) a “Courage to Lead Award” Thursday for his work on immigration legislation last year–not for the senator’s overall record on immigration issues.
The decision by the Forum, a national pro-immigrant group, to recognize Gardner surprised immigration experts, who say Gardner, who’s up for re-election next year, has mostly been a conservative hardliner on immigration.
Ali Noorani, Director of the National Immigration Forum, explained that Gardner got the award specifically for his 2018 work on bipartisan legislation that would have established a path to citizenship for Dreamers, who came to the U.S. illegally as children, and funded border security measures, including wall construction. The legislation failed to clear the Senate.
“From a Republican perspective, that is certainly not an easy thing to do these days,” said Noorani, referring to Gardner’s role in pushing the 2018 legislation.
But the award was narrowly intended to recognize the senator’s work last year, and it should not be seen as praise for Gardner’s overall record on immigration, Noorani said.
The Forum’s decision to recognize Gardner, he said, was not based on an assessment of his immigration votes, statements, or any other actions during his career in the Senate, U.S. House, or the Colorado Legislature.
A wider review of Gardner’s record shows him to be consistently obstructing or blocking immigration reform, even, in the U.S. House, opposing the Dream Act itself and Obama’s DACA rules to protect Dreamers.
As a Colorado state representative, he went beyond the typical hard-line approach of the era, siding with extremists who favored withholding immunizations, other preventative care, and schooling for immigrant kids.
Today, while Gardner has flipped on the Dream Act, he won’t say whether he supports the American Dream and Promise Act, which passed the House in June and would protect Dreamers.
And he apparently still opposes a Colorado law, called ASSET, that grants in-state tuition for Dreamers, who would otherwise likely be priced out of college.
“But we can’t start putting in place in-state tuition, whether it’s other things that are being placed by the states, without actually addressing the root problem that will only continue more illegal immigration into this country,” Gardner told a conservative KNUS radio host in 2013. “And so, that’s why we’ve got to have a policy that actually works, and I believe it starts with border security.”