THE BLOG
06/17/2014 11:41 am ET Updated Aug 17, 2014

What Gardner Doesn't Say Is More Informative Than What He Says

An Associated Press article last week reported on the clashes between Sen. Mark Udall and his Republican opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, on immigration issues. The AP piece, by Nicholas Riccardi, not only presents the two candidates' current positions on the topic but also adds info about what the one of the candidates is not saying.

Gardner last week said that he did support citizenship for people here illegally who served in the military. But he would not give any more specifics about who else should be granted citizenship.

Information about what candidates aren't willing to say allows readers to make meaningful comparisons.

It helps voters distinguish, in this case, a narrow immigration position, like Gardner's, from a broader one, like the comprehensive immigration reform supported by Udall. (Reporters covering Rep. Mike Coffman should also point out his unwillingness to offer a specific immigration plan, beyond vagaries--unlike his Democratic opponent Andrew Romanoff, who's a backer of the bipartisan Senate bill.)

Riccardi's piece clearly states that Udall supports the bipartisan immigration bill passed by the Senate, and Gardner does not.

Gardner has long opposed any immigration reform, even reduced college tuition for undocumented young people, until unspecified border security measures are in place.

Gardner attacked Udall for supporting a 2005 bill that would have made it a felony to be in the United States illegally, Riccardi reported.

For context, as he did with the two candidates' current immigration stances, Riccardi should have contrasted Gardner's own positions back then to Udall's.

Gardner, for example, was part of an organization called State Legislators for Legal Immigration, according to a May 22, 2007 Greeley Tribune article. Among other extreme immigration positions, Gardner's group wanted to prohibit the children of undocumented immigrants from attending school, even elementary school, and from receiving all other public assistance.

This comports with Gardner's 2006 vote in the state legislature against providing any benefits, including preventative care, like immunizations, to undocumented children as well as adults. At the time, Gardner was allied with the lawmakers in Colorado who thought the tough compromise legislation, passed during the special session in 2006, didn't go far enough.