DID THIS REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS GO TOO FAR?
A Republican congressional candidate said Tuesday that comments he made suggesting illegal immigrants be microchipped so they could be more easily tracked were taken out of context.
Pat Bertroche, a Republican candidate in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, was speaking Monday during a forum in Toledo when he made the comment.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported Bertroche said, “I actually support micro-chipping them. I can microchip my dog so I can find it. Why can’t I microchip an illegal?
He added, “That’s not a popular thing to say, but it’s a lot cheaper than building a fence they can tunnel under.”
Bertroche did not deny making the comments when asked about them Tuesday by The Associated Press. But he said he never meant to suggest he advocates illegal immigrants be microchipped like dogs, which can have chips placed beneath their skin.
“I don’t support microchipping anybody and it also didn’t occur to me I was comparing dogs to illegal immigrants,” he said by phone.
Instead, Bertroche, a physician, said he was trying to “illustrate a social commentary on how radical” the immigration issue has become.
Bertroche is one of seven candidates seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic incumbent Leonard Boswell.
He compared microchipping illegal immigrants to what he said are other radical ideas.
“Of all the major ideas that are out there, there are those that are extremely radical,” he said. “Building a fence is radical and it won’t work. Shooting them at the border is radical.”
Bertroche said he would instead support issuing of “blue cards” to illegal immigrants that would contain the same microchip technology found in U.S. passports. These cards would allow bearers to remain in the country but would prevent them from being granted citizenship or receiving government services.
According to his campaign website, the cards could be easily scanned and would document a person’s date of birth, nationality and fingerprints.
Bertroche said issuing such cards would be cheaper than building a border fence.
“Why not create something that is more cost effective?” he said.