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The Pueblo Chieftain - Tipton: Secure Borders, Surveillance Needed

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Tipton: Secure Borders, Surveillance Needed

Pueblo Chieftain - 4/7/06

Immigration not only reason to secure borders, says congressional candidate

By John Norton

The only announced challenger to Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., is making the rounds across Colorado's Third Congressional District delivering his views on the immigration debate now before his opponent and the rest of Congress.

Scott Tipton, owner of a Cortez pottery business, said Thursday that he wants to see stronger border protection including a "virtual" wall using sensors to detect illegal crossings, a guest-worker program and a "judicious and compassionate" program to send undocumented immigrants back to their home countries.

Tipton, a Republican, said illegal immigration isn't the only reason the border has to be strengthened and not just the southern border.

"Our first threat, before 9/11, was from Canada when that Border Patrol agent stopped a carload of explosives on its way to the Millennium celebration," he pointed out.

Illegal drugs are another threat, Tipton said, claiming that 70 to 90 percent of methamphetamine supplies, the large-volume caches, are coming from Mexico.

Tipton said Congress also needs to narrow its focus in the legislation it's developing. "In typical government fashion, we try to lump a lot of these things together," he said.

While supporting a guest-worker program, he opposes amnesty.

"What does that tell people down the road?" he asked, pointing out that amnesty now would encourage more people to enter the United States illegally and wait for the next round of amnesty.

He doesn't agree with an initial House proposal that illegal immigration be classified a felony. "Felonies mean jury trials and our courts are clogged enough," he said.

He said it should be made a minor misdemeanor.

He acknowledged that sending the estimated 12 to 13 million undocumented aliens home would cause some disruption, but added, "It's going to take a transition period.

"We've got a lot of people standing at the gate" who would be able to enter the United States under the guest-worker program, he added.

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