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Amash, Goodrich debate in 3rd Congressional District race

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan U.S. Rep. Justin Amashand Democratic challenger Bob Goodrich clashed on several issues during a debate today in Grand Rapids.   

Amash and Goodrich face off in next month’s Third Congressional District election. 

The wide ranging hour long debate touched on a variety of issues, from Obamacare to terrorism.

On the issue of illegal immigration, Republican Amash talked about the “heartbreak” he feels when he meets with families being divided. But the Republican incumbent says the nation’s borders need to be secured and the immigration system reformed to control the flow of legal immigrants into the U.S.

“Unfortunately many people are coming into this country claiming asylum when they are not actually seeking real asylum,” says Amash.

Democrat Bob Goodrich says the nation’s immigration system should be more “humane."  He lamented that many Americans vow to take up arms to repel immigrants.

“Why are we treating refugees as enemies?  It’s a mistake,” says Goodrich.

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Democrat Bob Goodrich

Both men agreed the nation’s guest worker program needs to be improved to better serve west Michigan’s agriculture industry.   

And they agreed that one unwelcome visitor to the United States must be kept out: Ebola. 

The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States died today in Dallas. He recently flew to the U.S. from Liberia.  

Starting next week, people flying to the U.S. from countries where the Ebola outbreak is centered will have to undergo some medical screening.  

Amash says Ebola could pose a serious long term threat, if steps aren’t taken now.

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI)

“We need to do a better job securing our country from flights that are coming from those parts of the world,” says Amash, who says the Obama administration has not acted swiftly enough to deal with the Ebola crisis.

But Goodrich suggests the biggest danger now is panic. 

“Until it’s really proven to be a threat, let’s not create one in our minds,” says Goodrich.  

While the two men expressed very different views, the debate itself was extremely cordial 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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