All four major candidates for Tenn. Gov. speak in favor of Arizona illegal immigration law

By: Nick Bona Email
By: Nick Bona Email

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/AP) - Each of the four major candidates running to be Tennessee’s next governor have now come out against the White House’s lawsuit against Arizona’s tough new immigration law. Among them is the race’s only Democratic candidate, Mike McWherter.

The Jackson businessman said in a statement Wednesday that Arizona's law became necessary "because of Washington's total failure to deal with the real problem."

The controversial and popular new law in Arizona requires police to check for proof of citizenship during traffic stops and arrests. The Department of Justice sued the “Grand Canyon State” earlier this week claiming it violated civil rights.

Republican Rep. Zach Wamp who is running for his party’s nomination for governor released a statement Wednesday also in support of the law.

“Legal immigration has helped make America great,” he said in the release. “But illegal immigration threatens our public schools, hospitals, safety and finances. Unfortunately the Obama administration is once again putting their political interests ahead of the people’s interests. And they’re wrong. We need a law like Arizona’s. Firm but fair. And if the federal government won’t enforce the law, then as governor, I will."

Republican Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey has earned the endorsement of several state tea party groups. He considers illegal immigration one of his key platforms for the 2010 gubernatorial race.

“I support these efforts by Arizona to secure their border and I applaud Gov. Jan Brewer’s leadership on behalf of her state,” Ramsey said in a statement on his website. “We are a nation originally comprised of immigrants and while I support legal immigration, we must never forget that we are a nation of laws and they must be upheld. Those seeking to come to our country through legal avenues are always welcome in America.”

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam also supports the Arizona law.

On immigration he has said, “At a time when more than 10 percent of our citizens can’t find work, we can’t tolerate employers knowingly hiring illegal immigrations. We should never provide any form of state government ID without proof of citizenship. And we should support the local law enforcement officials who are working to see that illegal immigrants are identified and deported.”

Early voting for the Aug. 5 primary begins next week.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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