Kansas GOP Primary Winner on Immigrants: ‘We absolutely need these people’

Digital and Design Associate

August 3, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Roger Marshall, a physician who defeated incumbent Rep. Tim Huelskamp in Kansas’ 1st District Tuesday, has sounded a constructive tone on immigration.

“There has to be a pathway to at least have a job,” Marshall said in 2015. “ … We need to find a way to get these people into the system. If you’ve had a job and you had a negative drug screen and you don’t have a felony record, let’s get a way to integrate them into our communities. We need them. We absolutely need these people.”

Marshall’s victory suggests that not all conservatives are aboard with deep polarization on immigration and other issues. Huelskamp, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, took a primarily enforcement-focused approach on immigration and had opposed the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

“Dr. Roger Marshall’s words offer much encouragement that progress toward inclusion of immigrants, rather than exclusion, may become a reality. Western Kansas thrives because of the contribution of its many immigrants,” said James Hawkins, Retired Chief of Police in Garden City, Kansas.

“Dr. Marshall’s victory offers hope that cooler heads will prevail,” said Adam Estle, field director at the National Immigration Forum. “Polls show that across the political spectrum, Americans support constructive immigration reform. Conservatives know we need immigration solutions. This outcome is encouraging.”