Senator disputes remarks on immigrants
GREELEY – A comment describing all illegal immigrants as “bad characters” was taken out of context last month in a story in the Greeley Tribune, U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard said Tuesday.The Colorado Republican also criticized the state Democratic Party for incorrectly assuming he was referring to Latinos specifically when he was talking about illegal immigrants.Two stories on the front page of the Tribune on May 27 (which appeared in the Vail Daily a week later) allowed supporters and opponents to discuss proposed immigration reform in a pro-and-con format. In the con story, Allard was quoted as saying, “They’re all the same bad characters.” The article also reported Allard said illegal immigrants brought prostitution and drug trafficking to communities.The Colorado Democratic Party issued a statement Monday asking Allard to apologize for his comments.
In a phone interview Tuesday, Allard said he was talking about human traffickers, who smuggle illegal immigrants into the country. It’s the traffickers who bring the criminal element, setting up prostitution rings and drug trade, Allard said. Allard’s chief of staff, Sean Conway, also elaborated on the senator’s statements. He said Allard was in a hurry to get to a floor vote during last month’s interview and failed to clarify his comments. Allard said he should have made it clear he was speaking about human traffickers, not illegal immigrants in general, Conway said. According to Conway, Allard did not blame the Tribune reporter for the confusion.Conway said Allard planned to submit a guest column following the original story to clarify his statements but never did. That column can be found at http://www.greeleytrib.com. Greeley Tribune Editor Chris Cobler said the Tribune stood behind its original story. “If Sen. Allard meant to refer to traffickers rather than immigrants, he did not say that to our reporter,” he said.
Allard stood behind his comments in the May 27 article that illegal immigrants are criminals by definition of the term. “Not all illegal immigrants are involved in illegal activity, but they are breaking the law by being here illegally,” Allard said Tuesday.He said Colorado Democratic Party Chairwoman Pat Waak and the Democratic Party were wrong to assume he spoke about Latinos specifically when he never mentioned them by name.”I do find it interesting the Democratic Party and its chairwoman, Pat Waak, have stereotyped Latinos as law breakers,” Allard said, adding Waak should be the one to apologize.Waak said Allard’s argument sounds bogus. Latinos are the largest immigrant group in the state and account for the vast majority of illegal immigrants. Allard couldn’t live in the state and say his comments weren’t directed at Latinos, Walk said in a phone interview Tuesday. She said she couldn’t believe Allard made the comments at first.
“I was absolutely shocked,” Waak said. “I mean this is his constituency. How could he say something like this?”Waak said it was clear Allard should apologize.Vail, Colorado