Last week, former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers became the first Democratic congressional candidate to sign a pledge to protect American workers.
The move brought criticism from some Democratic-leaning not so much because of his stance against amnesty for undocumented people—a position he has held going back to his days in the U.S. House of Representatives—but because of the reputation of the organization behind the pledge, the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Because of FAIR's advocacy of limiting immigration into the U.S., some civil-rights organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center have called FAIR extremist and racist.
In a release to news media this afternoon Childers defended position on amnesty, saying:
“As I travel the state of Mississippi, I try to listen to people more than I talk. I ask Mississippians about the issues that are important to them, and I believe it's equally important for me to provide them with answers on where I stand and how I would vote if elected to the U.S. Senate. In every town I visit, voters continue to voice their serious concerns over high unemployment and the lack of job opportunities in our state and want to know where I stand on closing the gap. I continue to believe that Mississippians would be well served by hearing both candidates debate these tough issues, but in the absence of agreement on a public debate from Thad Cochran, I'll continue to explain my positions on the issues."
"Today, Mississippi’s unemployment rate remains one of the highest in the nation. Until we get Mississippians back to work, I can neither support legislation that would grant work authorization or amnesty to people that came here illegally nor can I support increases in guest foreign workers — many of whom accept work at sub-standard wages. There are too many corporations in our state and across the nation who are hiring illegal immigrants and guest workers instead of providing unemployed Mississippians with opportunities to perform hard work at a decent wage. Washington insiders backing Senator Cochran argue that these corporations just can’t find Mississippians willing to do the hard work. However, I know that if the jobs are actually offered to Mississippians and provide livable wages, the people of our state would readily accept the work and do it proudly."