Where Senate candidates Cory Gardner and John Hickenlooper stand on Colorado issues

Cory Gardner vs John Hickenlooper on Colorado issues: Where the U.S. Senate candidates stand

  Race & Immigration



Immigration and DACA

How would you address the nation’s immigration system? What in particular would you support in regards to the DACA program and should state and local law enforcement cooperate with federal immigration authorities?

Background: On a procedural level, the Supreme Court earlier this year upheld the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, for people brought to the U.S. unlawfully as children. A question still remains about granting citizenship status to those in the country illegally. And the aggressive efforts of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is prompting states like Colorado to explore limits on their authority. Federal authorities say such moves amount to sanctuary policies.


A moderate on the issue with a mixed record

A: Gardner has a mixed record on the issue. In 2014, he voted against the repeal of the DACA program and since joined as a sponsor on 2017 legislation to help younger immigrants. He was part of discussions in 2018 that included a path to citizenship. But in other votes, whether on building a wall on the southern border or administration actions on immigration, he sided against changes to the immigration system.




Wants current system to work but record includes caveats

A: Hickenlooper supports funding the current immigration system to address a backlog of cases. Hickenlooper said he believes in the creation of a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country unlawfully that also ensures the safety of American workers and border security. But in the past he has suggested that people in the country illegally should be deported and supported a 2006 measure in Colorado that cracked down on illegal immigration.
As governor, Hickenlooper signed legislation granting in-state tuition to people in the DACA program and driver’s licenses to immigrants in the country illegally. He was vocal about opposing Trump’s efforts to end DACA. Moving forward, he supports dramatic reforms to ICE, including shrinking the agency’s size, and a delay in deportations and detainments amid the coronavirus.




Racial injustice

What policies do you support putting in place to address systemic racism and racial injustice?

Background: The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis ignited conversation about racism in America and in the campaign, forcing the candidates to draft plans for how to address inequities and structural barriers for people of color. In addition, candidates are looking at how to address police brutality.


Voted for some police reforms

A: Gardner voted to advance a police reform bill introduced by South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican, called the JUSTICE Act. The bill would create a commission to evaluate how various institutions impact Black people and leverage federal funding to incentivize police departments to make reforms. The bill nudges departments to stop using chokeholds, but does not ban them outright, as Democrat-backed legislation in the U.S. House proposed.




His plan calls for equity for all

A: Hickenlooper released an “equity for all” plan that calls for improving access to health care for people of color, as well as investing in education; supporting entrepreneurs of color; addressing police brutality; and reforming Colorado’s criminal justice system. He said he would support the Health Equity and Accountability Act to address the health of minority populations. He also supports reparations for African-Americans.



The Issues

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The Candidates

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Cory Gardner

Cory Gardner

U.S. senator   

John Hickenlooper

John Hickenlooper

Former Colorado governor and Denver mayor