Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff said over the weekend that federal immigration agents should focus on ensuring good workplace conditions for immigrants living in the U.S. illegally rather than detaining and deporting them.
At a campaign event on Sunday, Ossoff excoriated the “brutal conditions” at Georgia farms employing illegal immigrants.
“When federal agents arrive at one of these farms, it should be to make sure people are being paid the minimum wage, working in humane conditions,” Ossoff said.
Ossoff’s remark was in response to a question about what he will do if elected for “Dreamers,” or beneficiaries of the Obama-era program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allows people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to avoid at least temporarily deportation.
“We should have gratitude for those who keep us fed, who toil in the fields, and show humanity and compassion for those who are a part of our society, but living in the shadows,” Ossoff continued. “So I will be there for you and for all Dreamers.”
Over the summer, Ossoff also voiced his support for sanctuary cities, saying local law enforcement should not enforce federal immigration law.
“It is important that there be bonds of trust between local law enforcement and local communities,” Ossoff said during an online town hall event in June. “We can’t live in a society where people are afraid to call the police while someone’s being assaulted in their home, because everyone’s going to get their papers checked when the local PD arrives.”
Control of the Senate will be decided by two Georgia runoff elections on January 5 including the race between Ossoff and Georgia’s incumbent GOP senator David Perdue. Democrats must win both seats in order to tie with Senate Republicans for 50 seats each, which would make Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the deciding vote in the event of a tie.