Ed Gillespie stays steady on immigration reform

US flagRepublican Ed Gillespie was positive about comprehensive immigration reform back in June 2013, just a few days before the bill that would offer a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and boost border security created by the Gang of Eight was passed by the US Senate.

This year, with Gillespie revving up his efforts to unseat Democrat Mark Warner from the Senate, he has said that he is fine with the House of Representatives’ lack of interest in taking up this same comprehensive immigration reform bill and that he thinks it is probably a bad idea for it to be tackled during an election year.  Critics have accused Gillespie of changing his entire position; however, Gillespie’s spokesman, Paul Logan, who earlier declared that Gillespie was against amnesty, insists that this is not the case.

For years Gillespie has been endorsing a compromise to the central debate that has most impeded immigration reform in the United States: conservatives want greater border control and deportation laws to be enforced and liberals want a pathway to US citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have otherwise broken no laws.  Gillespie has been calling for stronger border control since 2006 and a pathway to legal residency but not citizenship for such immigrants; he did not support the latter last year either.

Although Gillespie appears less favorable to the Senate bill, his overall position seems unchanged.  “I do not support amnesty, and oppose granting citizenship to them, which would which would be unfair to those who have come here legally and played by the rules,” he wrote on his website this year, but added: “We need to come to terms with those who are here illegally now.”