Rep. Val Demings, a us-regions Democrat who is running to unseat Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, tweeted in favor of securing the U.S. border “and other points of entry” last week, which the Rubio campaign slammed as an “election-cycle charade” that contradicts her own record.
Demings tweeted Wednesday that immigration reform is needed in order to stem the tide of overdose deaths in the country, which have hit record levels.
Rep. Val Demings speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 21, 2021. (Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“What’s happening right now is a preventable tragedy. Taking it on requires a multistep approach,” she argued. “1) Hold pharma companies accountable 2) Secure the border and other points of entry 3) Make addiction and mental health treatment accessible to all.”
Despite her call to secure the border, Demings has a history of voting against policies that some could argue would do just that. In 2019, she called President Trump’s southern border wall “an absurd waste of money and a violation of our values as a nation of immigrants,” and she voted “yes” to terminate his declaration of an emergency at the border, which freed up billions in funding for the wall.
Demings also voted against a bill that would make it easier to deport illegal immigrants who are suspected of gang activity and another that would restrict taxpayer grant money to sanctuary cities.
Rep. Val Demings attends a Build Back Better for Women rally on the House steps of the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 24, 2021. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
“Demings may be willing to do and say anything in order to win, but her record speaks for itself,” the Rubio campaign said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Demings supports illegal immigrants voting, sanctuary cities, and a pathway to citizenship for gang members and sexual abusers while she opposes the border wall and resources for border agencies.
“Floridians will see right through her election-cycle charade,” the campaign said.
Meanwhile, Demings was among the group of Democrats who led the failed effort for immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship for millions of DREAMers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) immigrants, to be included in the $1.9 trillion social spending bill passed by the House on Friday.
Sen. Marco Rubio speaks with reporters before a vote on Capitol Hill on Nov. 4, 2021, in Washington. (Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)
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Demings Campaign Manager Zack Carroll hit back at the Rubio campaign and touted Demings’ work as an Orlando police chief in a statement to Fox News Digital on Sunday night.
“Chief Demings kept Floridians safe for 27 years as a law enforcement officer,” Carroll said. “In Congress, the Chief has fought to secure funding and strengthen oversight of the Border Patrol and Department of Homeland Security as they work to prevent illegal drug smuggling and keep Florida safe.
“But Marco Rubio is too weak and self-serving to do his job: he’s skipped nine Senate Foreign Relations hearings since September and voted against bipartisan support for the Department of Homeland Security that will enhance anti-smuggling security at the border and at ports of entry,” he continued. “In this race there’s only one candidate focused on doing the work to keep Floridians safe, and it’s Chief Demings.”