Ward goes against Trump, says immigration plan is ‘amnesty’
PHOENIX — U.S. Senate candidate Kelli Ward went against President Donald Trump when she labeled a proposed White House plan to offer a path to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants as “amnesty.”
“I think any discussion of a permanent solution for the DACA population or the ‘Dreamer’ population is amnesty, and that is something that we should not be talking about until the border is secure,” she told ABC News’ “This Week” in an interview that will be aired Sunday.
Trump’s administration announced the proposed plan on Thursday. It not only would work to make those 1.8 million people citizens, but would also implement tighter restrictions on legal immigration and budget $25 billion for border security.
Ward said she understood why the president would want to make a Dreamers deal — something the parties have split on and, in part, triggered last weekend’s federal government shutdown — but she said Trump should be focused on security first.
“He was elected largely on this issue and I know that if he stands firm on what he campaigned on, which is securing the border and not granting amnesty … if he stands firm on that, I am confident that we will get the reform that we need, and won’t plant the seeds for problems with immigration in the future,” she said.
Ward said she wants a border wall funded and built, family-based migration policies and the visa lottery system ended, funding withheld from so-called “sanctuary cities” and a mandatory employment check system in place before the Dreamers are granted even temporary status.
Ward’s comments were a rare break from her typically staunch support of Trump. She was a vocal backer of the president during his campaign and attended several of his Arizona events.
She also slammed U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake — whose seat she’s trying to fill — after the outgoing senator took to the floor to criticize Trump.
Ward is in a crowded race for Flake’s seat. She trailed both U.S. Rep. Martha McSally and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in a poll released earlier this month.