Jenny Wilson challenges Mitt Romney to debate on immigration

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SALT LAKE CITY — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jenny Wilson wants to debate Republican Mitt Romney on immigration this month.

Wilson, a Salt Lake County councilwoman, sent Romney an email this week congratulating him on his primary election win and challenging him to a debate.

"I noted in your victory speech you mentioned that we would be debating 'from time to time,' which sounds great to me!" she wrote.

Romney apparently won't take up Wilson's offer.

"We've said many times, Mitt is happy to participate in a debate sanctioned by the Utah Debate Commission," the Romney campaign said.

The commission has scheduled a debate between the two candidates on Oct. 9 at Southern Utah University in Cedar City.

Wilson said immigration and family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border are among the highest concerns now facing Congress, and Utahns would benefit from a policy discussion on the issue between the two candidates.

Romney and Wilson have divergent views on immigration.

Wilson supports comprehensive immigration reform that creates a path for citizenship for people here, secures the borders and restructures the process for new immigrants.

Romney favors measures to secure the border but opposes a path to citizenship. He said the legal immigration system should be merit based, giving applicants credit for English fluency and having a trade or technical skill, personal savings and advanced degrees.

Seeing Wilson had challenged Romney, Libertarian candidate Craig Bowden also weighed in, calling it "absurd" that Romney would only take part in the Utah Debate Commission event. He said he would be more than willing to debate Wilson on immigration or any other issue.

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Dennis Romboy
Dennis Romboy is an editor and reporter for the Deseret News. He has covered a variety of beats over the years, including state and local government, social issues and courts. A Utah native, Romboy earned a degree in journalism from the University of Utah. He enjoys cycling, snowboarding and running.


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