Here in Central and Northern New York, immigration isn't an issue like it is in Arizona. But that hasn't stopped a Congressional candidate from making it a part of his campaign for office. You may have heard the ad on the radio. Doug Hoffman sat down with our Brian Dwyer to discuss immigration and why he thinks a lawsuit trying to stop the Arizona law is just the federal government putting its nose where it doesn't belong.
JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. -- If you listen to the radio much, you've probably heard Congressional candidate Doug Hoffman stumping for support for Arizona as it tries to implement laws against a growing number of illegal aliens.
Hoffman says the law, which gives police the right to check people who they think might be in the country illegally, isn't discriminatory, but rather common sense.
"It has nothing to do with racial profiling," Hoffman said. "If you're in the country illegally, you're in illegally. You should be able to document or show documents otherwise."
Hoffman says Arizona was forced to make its own law because the federal government wasn't enforcing the one already on the books. Now that the government is challenging the law in court, he says it reminds him of the health care bill, saying the government is intruding on state rights.
"Obama is disregarding the laws that are already in place," Hoffman added. "He's not encouraging enforcement by the federal agencies, so the state of Arizona steps up and passes a law to do what the federal government should do."
But one of his potential opponents says that's not entirely true. Current Congressman Bill Owens says the Obama administration has deported more illegal aliens in one year than Bush's did in eight.
"It really is the role of the federal government and I think that we have to be very careful that we don't have 50 different immigration laws being passed," Owens said.
And the man Hoffman will be facing in next month's republican primary, Matt Doheny says he's not a fan of the ad, which he said has several factual errors. But he does agree the government needs to do more in both border security and making it easier for people who want to get here legally.
"It's a sad state of affairs in America when it's easier to get in this country illegally than it is legally," Doheny said. "That's sad. We need to turn that because there are many fine people who want a better life in America."
And while the candidates agree the issue isn't the same here in New York, it does relate. All three say they'd like to see some sort of guest worker provision that would allow immigrant workers to be here on a part time basis to help keep the local farms in business.
All three candidates also agreed that illegal aliens should not be given amnesty.