Campaign check: Perdue alleges Ossoff favors ‘blanket’ amnesty

The statement:

“He wants total blanket amnesty.” -Sen. David Perdue, Dec. 7, Spicer & Co.

What we found:

In a Dec. 7 segment on former White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s talk show, Republican Sen. David Perdue was asked why he did not show up for a debate with Democrat Jon Ossoff at the Atlanta Press Club the night before.

Perdue and Ossoff are locked in a tight battle for one of two U.S. Senate seats that could determine whether the Democrats and President-elect Joe Biden have total control of Congress or just the House of Representatives. The runoff election is Jan. 5.

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Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In answering, Perdue laid out what he thinks are the fallacies in what he says are Ossoff’s policy positions. At one point he said: “He wants total blanket amnesty.”

It’s a charge Perdue has made to other media outlets.

Perdue’s campaign manager Ben Fry also made the assertion in a statement to media after the debate: “Jon Ossoff came out in support of blanket amnesty.”

During the debate, Ossoff talked about the need for comprehensive immigration reform “which provides a path to legal status for the undocumented who otherwise follow the law, which secures our borders.”

He also emphasized the need for strong border security, but was critical of President Donald Trump’s policy at the U.S.-Mexico border, which separated hundreds of migrant children from their families. International outcry led to the policy’s end, but last month at least 545 children still had not been reunited with their children, the New York Times reported.

Perdue has been an ardent supporter of Trump’s immigration polices.

“Border security does not mean border brutality,” Ossoff said. “Senator Perdue is complicit in a policy of ripping babies from their mothers at our southern border. . . . We do need secure borders. We also need to keep our soul as a people and uphold our commitments to basic human rights.”

The son of an immigrant mother who was first in her family to graduate from college, Ossoff also supports the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program whose beneficiaries are sometimes referred to as Dreamers.

“Dreamers, DACA recipients, are every bit as American as any of us,” he tweeted Dec. 13. “I will have your back in the Senate.”

In an interview with NPR two years ago, Perdue had this to say about DACA: “The first thing that the young people who are in the DACA program now — when they become citizens, the first thing they’re going to do is turn around and sponsor their parents who brought them here illegally. And you can’t have that.”

The Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact, a nonpartisan fact-checking site, reported “some view amnesty as permission for immigrants living in the country illegally to simply remain in the United States.

But “blanket amnesty,” PolitiFact reported, suggests “a formal, legal act, in which the government pardons a group for violating immigration policies and allows them to obtain permanent residency.”

“There is no evidence Ossoff supports that approach,” the report said.

At a town hall in June, Ossoff was asked his opinion on Georgia Department of Corrections renewing a program allowing state law enforcement of enforce federal immigration law. His response has been widely cited by conservative media as support for “sanctuary cities,” jurisdictions that limit the level of cooperation local police provide feds on immigration.

“It is important that there be bonds of trust between local law enforcement and local communities,” Ossoff said, according to Yahoo!Life. “We can’t live in a society where people are afraid to call the police while someone’s being assaulted in their home, because everyone’s going to get their papers checked when the local PD arrives.”

In 2018, Perdue supported a Republican proposal aimed to cut off federal funding for sanctuary cities. The plan was rejected on a 54-45 party-line vote, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

He also voted against a bipartisan bill that would have granted Dreamers a path to citizenship, but banned them from sponsoring their parents. It would have set aside $25 billion for border secretary, which Trump wanted, but left in place the diversity visa lottery he opposed. The bill failed.

Perdue also voted for a plan that would grant citizenship to 1.8 million Dreams after more than a decade. The bill also boosted border security, while ending the diversity visa lottery and barring immigrants from sponsoring their non-nuclear family for visas. The measure failed.

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