Trump's 'Mass Deportations' Find Vocal Backing From Colorado 4th District Gop Contenders

Trump’s ‘Mass Deportations’ Find Vocal Backing From Colorado 4th District Gop Contenders

The Republicans running for Colorado’s 4th Congressional District on Thursday broadly expressed support for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s plans for mass deportations of America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, despite avoiding questions about the specifics of carrying out such a program and repeating false claims about a link between immigration and crime.

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, who has moved across the state and switched to the 4th District race after nearly losing her 2022 reelection bid in the 3rd District, which she still represents, referred to the arrival of migrants from Central and South America, many of whom are refugees seeking asylum legally, as an “invasion,” echoing Trump’s rhetoric.

“We need President Trump back in office to ultimately see this through,” Boebert said during a 9News debate. “But I take this so seriously that I led the charge to impeach Joe Biden for his dereliction of duty at the southern border.”

The victor of the 4th District Republican primary on June 25 will be significantly favored to win election in November to the seat previously held by former U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, who resigned in March. Before then, the district, which includes Douglas County and part of Colorado’s Eastern Plains, will be represented by the winner of a special election on June 25 between Democrat Trisha Calvarese and Republican Greg Lopez, a self-proclaimed placeholder candidate.

Former state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, a 16-year statehouse veteran who has been endorsed by many Republican insiders, is running against Boebert in the 4th District GOP primary, as is state Rep. Richard Holtorf of Akron, state Rep. Mike Lynch of Wellington, Deborah Flora, a conservative talk radio host, and Peter Yu, a finance and mortgage consultant.

At the start of Thursday’s debate, all six candidates indicated that they would continue to support Trump, who had been convicted by a New York jury hours earlier on 34 felony fraud charges stemming from a scheme to influence the outcome of the 2016 election through hush money payments to a porn star.

Trump has claimed that on the first day of his second presidential term, he will “begin the largest domestic deportation operation in American history,” and in an April interview with Time magazine, he outlined plans to carry out his program using local police departments and the US military.

Trump has frequently equated the magnitude of his plans to a 1954 US government operation dubbed after a derogatory slur against Mexican-Americans that deported an estimated 1.1 million people to Mexico. The crackdown resulted in circumstances aboard trains, trucks, and cargo ships that a later congressional study compared to “slave ships” and resulted in the deaths of at least 88 deportees.

During Thursday’s discussion, Boebert and other Republican candidates mainly declined to provide concrete plans for carrying out such a massive deportation effort in Colorado communities.

“Bringing in out-of-state national guardsmen or the U.S. military in Douglas County — do you feel like that would work?” Kyle Clark, the moderator, asked Flora. “I’m not into Douglas County. “That’s not what I’m talking about,” Flora stated. “What I mentioned is to secure our border — that is what is required.”

“When it comes right down to it, (the) mass deportation that I’m talking about is shipping the ones that have been bused into Denver, busing them back out,” Sonnenberg said. “Absolutely, I would use the police, I would use the National Guard.”

The American Immigration Council estimated that Colorado had 190,000 unauthorized immigrants in 2020. The number is likely to have increased recently, with over 40,000 new migrants arriving in Denver since December 2022, but municipal authorities estimate nearly half of them have moved on to other cities and the influx has slowed drastically in recent months.

Sonnenberg falsely claimed that newly arrived migrants “aren’t the ones working,” but rather “are the ones causing crime to rise in Denver and the surrounding area.” Decades of research have shown that immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, are far less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States — and violent and property crime rates in the Denver area have been steadily declining since late 2022, when an unusually large number of migrants arrived.

Boebert’s Electability

Boebert shocked Colorado politics when she revealed her district move in late December, amid growing concerns that she might lose a rematch with Democratic rival Adam Frisch in the 3rd District. Frisch, who broke fundraising records while running against the globally renowned and very controversial Boebert, fell just 546 votes shy of victory in the 2022 election.

The 4th District is Colorado’s most conservative congressional district, with 58% of voters supporting Trump in the 2020 election to 39.5% for Biden. However, a majority of Boebert’s opponents expressed concern Thursday night that selecting her would jeopardize Republicans’ chances of retaining the seat.

“I think it’s susceptible. Flora stated, “I believe the days when that would never happen in Colorado are long gone.” “And I think it’s time that we have someone in this seat — which is one of the reasons why I’m running — where we can rebuild the party, where we can make it the big tent again.”

“We just want people who are elected who actually represent our values,” Boebert responded. “I do not think I will make this seat vulnerable. This is a Republican district, and they prefer a Republican with a completely conservative voting record, as I do.”

Boebert, who has been endorsed by House Republican leadership and has a significant money advantage over her opponents, was frequently criticized throughout the discussion. Lynch, in response to a question regarding his 2022 drunk driving arrest, which caused his removal as House minority leader earlier this year, made an oblique reference to “theater incidents or anything else that was embarrassing to folks.”

Last year, Boebert made national headlines when she and a partner were removed from Denver’s Buell Theatre after patrons complained about them vaping and causing a disturbance.

“I owned up to my night out in Denver, and you know, I’ve gone on that public apology tour,” she stated Thursday night. “I’m grateful for the mercy and grace that has been shown.” Holtorf reiterated comments he made earlier this month, telling a conservative radio broadcaster that Boebert dresses like a sex worker.

“I raised five daughters,” Holtorf stated during the argument. “And I’ll tell you what, women in my humble opinion, particularly if they’re a congresswoman, need to dress respectfully and professionally.”

Holtorf was reacting to queries about his history of inflammatory comments, which included calling a Black colleague in the Legislature “Buckwheat” and telling another politician, whose son was slain in the 2012 Aurora theater tragedy, “You have to let go.”

“Most people know that I’m a straight, no-nonsense conservative,” Holtorf stated. “And I say things that oftentimes are misinterpreted or misunderstood.”

Primary ballots will be mailed to Colorado voters beginning June 3.

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