Brindisi, Tenney trade barbs on federal immigration policies

Published Jun 22, 2018 at 4:00pm

U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney’s position on federal border policies involving family separations prompted an exchange between the Congressional election campaign offices for Tenney, a Republican, and her opponent, Democrat Anthony Brindisi.

The Brindisi for Congress campaign on Wednesday said Tenney had refused to condemn the presidential administration’s family separation policy, “even in the face of heart-wrenching reports of children being torn from their parents at the border.”

But the re-election campaign for Tenney, R-22, New Hartford, countered Thursday that the Brindisi campaign announcement ignored a statement that Tenney issued and instead pulled sound bites from a 30-minute radio interview to be misleading.

The matter involved a presidential policy that involved separating children from their families at the border. But President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order which stopped that policy, while also saying it wouldn’t end his administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of charging everyone who attempts to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, said reports including nbcnews.com.

​The Brindisi campaign announcement said that although fellow New York Republican U.S. Reps. Peter King and John Katko had opposed the separation policy, Tenney had “stuck with her party leadership” during a radio interview Wednesday morning. Brindisi campaign manager Ellen Foster said “speaking out against a policy that separates families should be easy, but apparently Claudia Tenney would rather keep going to fancy fundraisers with Republican party bosses than show any semblance of independence or political courage.”

However, Tenney campaign manager Raychel Renna said Tenney had issued a statement prior to the executive order signed by Trump. It said in part that “the situation on the border is tragic and my heart goes out to these children whose parents put them in this situation,” and that “families can avoid being separated simply by refraining from breaking U.S. law and attempting to cross our border illegally.”

Renna also said that Trump on Wednesday “signed an executive order to provide more resources to a system that has been overrun by illegal immigrants in order to stop separations, and keep families together until they can be deported....This nasty, false attack shows Anthony Brindisi is more interested in scoring cheap political points than working with Republicans to secure the border so children aren’t put in this terrible situation.”

​Brindisi, of Utica, is an assemblyman in the 119th district.