Here are the first two paragraphs of Colorado senatorial candidate Cory Gardner's official position on immigration, as written on his congressional website:
Gardner: Our first line of defense against illegal immigration is the border, and it is the federal government's job to make sure that it is secure. Americans are tired of watching the political establishment lack the will to enforce our nation's laws when it comes to border security and immigration policy.
The solution to the problem isn't for the Justice Department to file a taxpayer-funded lawsuit against the Governor of Arizona for responding to a law enforcement crisis. It isn't giving amnesty to the 12-20 million illegal immigrants in this country, or giving those people benefits that will only encourage more illegal immigration.
Those four sentences embody the tone of Gardner's approach to immigration throughout his political career. Tough. Inflexible. Mean.
So it's been a surprise lately, as he's been gearing up to face Democrat Mark Udall in November's election, to hear Gardner talk about allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States.
Or to see him last week cite "legal ambiguities," break with fellow Republicans, and vote against ending President Obama's policy of allowing young undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation for at least two years.
I mean, just over a year ago, he voted with Republicans to overturn the exact same policy.
Asked last week by The Denver Post's Mark Matthews to explain his June 6, 2013, vote to deport young immigrants, Gardner said in a statement, "The immigration debate is in a different place than it was."
If that's true, then why is Gardner still opposed, as Matthews reports, to addressing the tuition needs of undocumented students until border security issues are solved to Gardner's unspecified satisfaction?
Ditto with respect to his staunch opposition to an immigration bill, passed by a solid 68-32 majority in the U.S. Senate, only to be rejected by Gardner and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Why does the Gardner's own congressional website invoke Arizona's anti-immigration law, which, had it not been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, would have allowed police to detain anyone even suspected of being a illegal immigrant?
Why doesn't Gardner act as if immigration reform is in a different place than it was a year ago, instead of just talk like it is.