GOP Candidate’s Call for Labor Camp Rebuked
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Republican gubernatorial candidate’s call for creation of a forced labor camp for illegal immigrants drew rebukes Friday from two GOP lawmakers, who labeled it a low point in the immigration debate.
Don Goldwater, nephew of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, caused an international stir this week when EFE, a Mexican news service, quoted him as saying he wanted to hold undocumented immigrants in camps to use them ``as labor in the construction of a wall and to clean the areas of the Arizona desert that they’re polluting.″
The article described Goldwater’s plan as a ``concentration camp″ for migrants.
Goldwater, a candidate for governor in Arizona, said in a statement Friday that his comments were taken out of context. He said he was calling for a work program for convicted nonviolent felons, similar to ``tried and tested, effective and accepted practices″ used by state and local jails.
But two Republicans, Arizona Sen. John McCain and Rep. Jim Kolbe, called Goldwater’s comments ``deeply offensive″ and asked state Republicans to reject his candidacy in the Sept. 12 primary.
``That Mr. Goldwater is either unaware of or indifferent to the loaded symbolism, injustice and un-Americanism of his ‘plan’ to address the many serious issues caused by illegal immigration reveals his flaws as a candidate and a stunning lack of respect for the basic values of a generous and decent society,″ McCain said in a statement.
Kolbe said that if the comments are true, Goldwater ``has demonstrated his complete unworthiness for public office, and I am confident he will be soundly rejected by Republicans from the party of Barry Goldwater, who consistently demonstrated his compassion and respect for all people. This is a sad day in the national debate on immigration policy.″
McCain and Kolbe favor a guest-worker program for illegal immigrants.
Goldwater made a similar comment at an April anti-immigration rally.
``Build us that wall _ now!″ Goldwater said, referring to a proposal to add 700 miles of fences along the U.S.-Mexico border. He promised then that if elected, he would put illegal immigrants in a tent city on the border and use their labor to build the wall.
Barry Goldwater, the former Arizona senator, was the Republican presidential nominee in 1964.