Republicans Paul Addis and Lou Barletta have gone on the offensive already trying to stake out positions on the issue.
Barletta took issue with Senator Bob Casey hosting a fundraiser with Protect & Elect, a group that wants to “elect candidates who represent democratic values and are committed to the protection and preservation of individual rights” according to their website.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee points to the group’s support for “The New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia” as the the basis for the group being pro-sanctuary cities. Protect & Elect’s website does not take a position on the issue.
Barletta’s campaign is using that support as the basis for pushing its position on immigration.
“The choice could not be more clear: Bob Casey stands for illegal immigrants, while Lou Barletta will always fight to put Pennsylvania workers and families first. Lou Barletta believes that illegal is illegal, and we should not give safe havens to criminal illegal immigrants,” Barletta spokesman Jon Anzur said in a release about the fundraiser.
After President Trump reportedly struck a deal with Congressional Democrats on DACA, Addis pushed for Barletta to take a position on the deal, pointing to his own position.
“I’m running to be a thoughtful, conservative Republican voice for the Commonwealth. I won’t need to check my Twitter feed to know where I stand on DACA or any other issue –I’ve already spelled out where I stand on DACA and immigration reform,” Addis said.
Trump’s deal with Congressional Democrats came after he declared that the DACA program started under President Obama would end in six months unless Congress passed a plan. Casey took a strong position against Trump’s decision to end the program.
“President Trump’s action today is an insult to America and our values. This action is profoundly unjust, immoral and without regard for basic fairness. Tearing apart the lives of these young people will make our nation less safe, and harm our economy. According to the CATO Institute, deporting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients would cost more than $60 billion and would result in a $280 billion reduction in economic growth over the next decade. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates that the 1.3 million young people enrolled in or eligible for DACA pay $2 billion each year in state and local taxes,” Casey said in a statement.
As the campaign continues, all sides will likely continue to push on the issue to help motivate their bases of support and try to push their opponents into set positions on all aspects of the issue.