The Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey backed Republican Bob Hugin in the U.S. Senate race at Mi Bandera Restaurant in Union City earlier today.Â
“Hudson County, Union City, is Bob Hugin’s home. That’s where the family gets started, that’s where the family made the American Dream. That’s where the family showed people like us, people that came from other countries, that we can do it in America,” said Hudson County Republican Committee Chair Jose Arango.
Hugin, like his Democratic adversary, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, is a Union City native and returned home for a presser that lasted about a half hour early this afternoon.
LLANJ President NÃ©stor Mantilla said that his organization decided to back Hugin, despite backing Menendez in three previous races, this time around over his stance on pushing for nationwide immigration reforms.
“He shows sensitivity to the many undocumented who came here as children and have become Americans by upbringing, incarceration and disposition … it created a path to citizenship for DREAMers, that’s very important,” Mantilla explained.
“He believes also, that on the path to citizenship, immigrants who might not have come here legally, but are building productive and constructive lives in America – as we are a nation of immigrants and will continue to be for many years to come.”
Hugin, who spoke about improving medical coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and improving Medicare for seniors, fought back against Menendez’s claims that he would be a yes man for President Donald Trump (R) if elected.
“I promise you that I will stand up to President Trump for anything he wants to do that divides us or does things that are not in the interest of New Jersey. And I will work with everyone: Democrats and Republicans who advance the agenda to make life better for the people of New Jersey,” he stated.
Hugin also committed to lowering the cost of living in New Jersey and expressed gratitude for receiving the endorsement, particularly for being able to receive it in Union City.
During a question and answer session with the media, Hugin detailed what his immigration plan would look like when responding to HCV.
“We’re a great country and we’re proud of the people who are here and we need to make sure that if people shouldn’t be here, they’re criminals, we should make sure that [deportation] takes place. But we don’t have to give away parts of it, in exchange, unless we get the things that we want,” he began.
“We want comprehensive immigration reform: we want H-1B visas expanded, we want to staple a green card in PhDs – people who come from other countries who want to be here – PhDs in biochemistry, computer science: these are job creators of the future … for people who are building productive, constructive lives in New Jersey, we need to give them a pathway to citizenship so we can take advantage of their talents.”
More specifically, on the topic of the “migrant caravan,” a group of as many as thousands of Central American natives approaching the United States through the Mexican border,
“Two things: we have to make sure if we’re providing foreign aid to countries, we have to make sure that in exchange for that, that they’re using those resources to build their communities and their economies so the people have a great life there,” Hugin said.
“We need to make sure we have the resources available to have secure borders and make sure we’re prepared if there are people that are legitimately required and justly political asylum – we should given them access to that. We need to process them, but with a standard of doing it compassionately: we should not separate families under any condition whatsoever.”
This morning, The Cook Political Report said that the bitter battle between Menendez and Hugin is a toss up, after proclaiming the contest was leaning Democratic.
While a Republican hasn’t won a New Jersey U.S. Senate seat since 1972, Hugin has raised over $30 million, with $27.5 million coming from his personal finances, according to his latest reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Most of that funding has gone into attacking Menendez over his corruption trial that ended in a hung jury, an issue that has clearly damaged his public image according to.
Despite taking some hard shots, the incumbent has countered that Hugin would push the Trump agenda in Washington, also slamming the challenger over his time as the head of pharmaceutical giant Celgene – claiming he ripped off cancer patients for his own personal gain.
Election Day is on November 6th and most polls have Menendez leading by somewhere in the neighborhood of six to eight points.
The full press conference, which streamed live on our Facebook page, can be viewed below: