A newly surfaced video clip suggests Michigan Democrat Gary Peters is a bigger proponent of border security for Kosovo than for the United States.
Peters stirred controversy Friday when a 2013 recording surfaced of the three-term congressman saying that border security should not be a priority when Congress takes up immigration reform, according to Breitbart.
"Immigration reform is not about enforcement," Peters told pro-immigration activists in 2013. "It’s about finding a way to fix the problems in our immigration system."
However, Peters has not always been a firm believer in loose borders. He told an audience at American University in Kosovo in 2011 that border security is one of the key factors to nationhood.
"You can’t be a sovereign country if you don’t have the ability to safeguard and protect your own borders and control what happens over those borders," he said in a 2011 forum.
The congressman pledged to fight to ensure that Kosovo, a former territory in Soviet-controlled Yugoslavia, had the resources to protect its borders. The U.S. military and NATO forces launched an air campaign to put a stop to genocide in the region after Slavic forces led by Slobodan Milosevic attempted to wipe out the Muslim population during the Clinton administration.
"We also want to make sure that we are advocates in the United States Congress for the United States to continue to support our commitment to make sure that the forces are here to assist the people of Kosovo to stabilize the border," he said. "We can’t let that investment slip away."
Peters has remained silent on the issue of border security since the video of his 2013 speech appeared, despite an influx of illegal immigration over the past year that has wreaked havoc along the southern border. Federal and state authorities have established refugee camps housing thousands of unaccompanied minors intercepted while attempting to enter the United States.
Peters did not return Washington Free Beacon requests for comment.
He lists no official positions on immigration on his campaign website, though he voted against a 2013 House measure introduced by Rep. Steve King (R., Iowa) that would have prevented President Barack Obama’s 2012 executive order to allow minors who entered the U.S. illegally before 2007 to stay.
Republican Terri Lynn Land blasted Peters for flip-flopping on border security.
"Last week a video came to light where Congressman Gary Peters says he doesn't believe in border security, now we are learning that he does, as long as it's not American borders," Land spokeswoman Heather Swift said. "Why does Gary Peters think border enforcement matters for Kosovo but not the U.S.? Michigan voters deserve to know why Gary Peters refuses to secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws."
Swift said that Land, a former Michigan Secretary of State, plans to take a balanced approach to immigration, combining tougher enforcement of existing immigration laws with support for high tech visas to open the United States up to high-skilled foreign workers.
Both candidates face no major challengers and are expected to win their party’s nominations when Michigan primary voting ends Tuesday evening.
They are running to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.). The race in the blue state is much more competitive than Levin’s last reelection effort, when the Democrat won by more than 30 points in 2008. A RealClearPolitics poll average shows Land trailing Peters by about 5 points.
Published under: Gary Peters