Bob Kerrey, the former Nebraska governor and senator and the current Democratic nominee for the open senate seat in the state, appears to have a very open mind when it comes to immigration reform.
“I support the Romney plan and believe Congress should add authorizing language that supports the executive action taken by President Obama and send it to the president as quickly as possible. I would also support Senator Marco Rubio’s immigration proposal and working it into compromise legislation,” Kerrey said in a statement on Monday.
Kerrey, 68, is running in a tough race against Republican candidate Deb Fischer, a state senator and rancher whose victory in the state’s GOP primary came as somewhat of a surprise. Both candidates are hoping to fill the seat left open by the retirement of Democrat Ben Nelson.
The crux of Kerrey’s statement is not an unfamiliar one– it’s a call for compromise on an issue that many leaders admit is very complicated.
“An action by President Barack Obama and a speech by Governor Mitt Romney have combined to form the basis for meaningful reform if only both political parties (and their talking-head advocates) will see the wisdom of actually doing something rather than merely talking about why they cannot” Kerrey said.
But Kerrey’s support for Romney’s plan, Obama’s executive action and Rubio’s proposal is a bit confusing, given that Romney has been rather evasive on the issue of immigration as of late, toning down his rhetoric from the primaries when he voiced support for parts of Arizona’s immigration law, and advocated self-deportation of illegal immigrants.
At the annual NALEO conference last week Romney said that he would address the president’s recent executive action– which called for a relaxing of deportation rules for young people– by replacing it with a long-term solution. He did not lay out many specifics of this long-term solution however.
Though lower than the national average, Nebraska actually has a sizable Latino population. The 2010 census found that 9.2 percent of Nebraskans identified themselves as having Hispanic or Latino origin. The national average is 16.3 percent.
Polling shows Fischer with a strong lead over Kerrey a little more than four months from election day.