Arizona Gubernatorial candidate Matt Salmon is talking tough on combatting illegal immigration and securing his state’s southern border with Mexico as he takes on Trump-endorsed Kari Lake for the GOP nomination for Governor. However, Salmon has a long history of being soft on border security and immigration issues dating back to his days in Congress. Before launching his latest campaign, Matt Salmon opposed the construction of the border wall and even fought the Trump Administration on DACA, lobbying Congress to make amnesty for illegal aliens the law of the land.
The version of Matt Salmon on immigration being presented to Arizonans as he runs against Trump-endorsed firebrand Kari Lake in the state’s GOP primary is far from the one reality has known throughout his lengthy career in and around politics. In addition to his support of Communist Chinese Confucious Institutes that was previously reported on by National File, Matt Salmon has a long history of weakness on border security and immigration, only seeming to turn up the heat on the issue when faced this year with Kari Lake’s America First platform, which includes support for finishing Arizona’s sections of the border wall if Washington fails to act.
Though he now claims to support constructing a wall to defend America and Arizona’s southern border from illegal immigration and narco invasion, Salmon echoed Democrats and “Never Trump” Republicans at the end of his second stint in Congress, arguing that the wall would be “incredibly expensive” to construct, apparently disregarding just how costly illegal immigration has been to Americans. There are “readily available solutions without having to build a massive wall,” Salmon said of solving America’s border crisis at the time.
Now, Salmon is singing a much different tune on President Trump’s border wall, claiming to be an ardent supporter of it and even including a picture of himself standing alongside a section of the wall in the “Law and Order” portion of his campaign website. Despite his early dismissal of the “massive wall,” Salmon now lists finishing it among his top solutions to solving the border crisis that has so heavily impacted Arizona.
Shortly after opposing the border wall on his way out of Congress, Salmon served as Vice President for Government Affairs at Arizona State University. It was during that time that the Trump Administration moved to end the Obama-era DACA amnesty program for illegal aliens, which affected some Arizona State students. Though he said he opposed the program while in Congress, Salmon admitted in 2017 that he is actually in favor of amnesty and lobbied for Congress to subvert the Trump Administration. Matt Salmon ultimately argued to make Obama’s DACA program the law of the land.
“Our team is going to be doing everything humanly possible to make sure that the Congress makes this permanent and it’s not something they have to worry about in the future,” Salmon said of fighting for DACA and illegal aliens at Arizona State. Speaking with The State Press, Salmon went on to explain that he “strongly” favors amnesty and always has, saying that he only opposed the manner in which DACA was enacted. The program was enacted by President Obama through an executive order, not a vote by Congress.
“The right way isn’t through executive order…Congress has the responsibility to regulate naturalization,” Salmon said. “I feel very strongly that the DACA kids should be made permanent, and that it should be done through Congress, that’s how I’ve always felt.”
As the DACA program came into the national spotlight, several studies shone a light on the harsh reality and human cost of the amnesty that was supported by Salmon and is still tied up in court battles. According to federal statistics released in 2019, a sizable proportion of DACA requestors and beneficiaries boasted criminal arrest records.
According to the federal statistics and contrary to the narrative about DACA “kids” promulgated by Matt Salmon, “nearly 110,000 DACA requestors out of nearly 889,000 (12%) had arrest records,” including offenses as serious as crimes against small children and cartel and gang-related murders.
Though Matt Salmon says he kept his views on amnesty under wraps in Congress, he staunchly supported foreign guest-worker programs during both of his stints in DC – the first of which lasted from 1995 to 2001 and the second from 2013 to 2017. The guest-worker programs, which offer visas to foreign workers who will often work for wages far below American market value, have long been supported by the establishment of both parties, as well as corporate campaign donors in search of inexpensive labor.
The guest-worker visas have also been credited with displacing American workers at all levels, leading to massive opposition against them by grassroots conservatives and America First candidates for office, including President Trump, whose administration made lengthy efforts to reign in the type of visa programs supported by Salmon since the early days of his career.
“I’ve made no secret about the fact that I’ve always supported a robust guest-worker program,” Salmon said of his support for guest-worker programs in a 2014 interview. “I said that when I came in before, I said when I ran for Governor [in 2002] I supported it.”