Michigan Democrat Gary Peters assured voters that illegal immigrants would not be eligible for Obamacare, but later supported the loophole that is now allowing young illegal immigrants to enroll in the program.
Peters told members of the National Council of Jewish Women that illegal immigrants would be excluded from government-sponsored insurance coverage as the public debated Affordable Care Act, according to the Detroit Free Press. The congressman’s public statements, however, differ from his voting record on illegal immigration and healthcare.
Peters voted to block Obamacare amendments that would have mandated a stricter identification system designed to prevent illegal immigrants from enrolling in the program. The vote ensured that the loopholes would remain in the laws, easing access for undocumented persons, according to anti-illegal immigration group, Numbers USA.
"By supporting the rule, Rep. Peters signaled … support of a health bill that creates rewards or incentives for illegal immigration," Numbers USA said of the vote.
Illegal immigrants are now taking advantage of those loopholes thanks to cooperation from the Obama administration and Peters.
The Michigan Democrat later voted for the DREAM Act. When that failed, he opposed a bill that would have prevented Obama from using an executive order to grant temporary legal status to illegal immigrants who crossed the border as children.
States such as New York, California, and Massachusetts are exploiting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy to enroll illegal immigrants in Obamacare, according to CNN. The policy could allow thousands of illegal immigrants to join the state-based exchanges.
Democrats are also working to expand that loophole beyond the state level. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D., N.M.) drafted legislation in March to allow all immigrants to be granted legal status, including those covered by DACA, access to federal entitlements and Obamacare subsidies.
The Land campaign said that Peters' record on Obamacare and illegal immigration demonstrates that he values selling voters on his agenda over being honest with them.
"Gary Peters has a history of lying to voters on everything from securing our borders to Obamacare, telling them anything they want to hear just so he can get elected," spokeswoman Heather Swift said. "Congressman Gary Peters cannot be trusted to protect Michigan’s jobs, to enforce the laws of this nation, to keep Americans safe, or to put Michigan first. He has some serious questions to answer about his untruthful campaign tactics. The more voters learn about Gary Peters the more they know one thing: you cannot trust anything that Gary Peters says."
The three-term congressman has come under fire for flip-flopping on immigration and border security. He has defended border control as essential to sovereignty in foreign countries and publicly said he backs American border security. However, a new video of a 2013 closed-door speech to immigration activists shows Peters saying that "immigration reform is not about more enforcement."
Land released a pair of ads accusing Peters of hypocrisy on illegal immigration. "Two faced on immigration, Gary Peters put Washington politics ahead of what’s best for America and best for Michigan," one says.
A second ad slams Peters as "playing both sides."
"Terri Lynn Land knows we need to secure the border and enforce our laws to protect our jobs and put Michigan first," it says.
Peters leads Land by 4 points, according to Real Clear Politics, but the Republican has surged to within 1 point in two polls taken in August. They are running to replace retiring Democrat Carl Levin, who won the 2008 Senate race by thirty points.