PHOENIX — Democratic congressional candidate Hiral Tipirneni slammed President Donald Trump’s border wall proposal Sunday evening and called for more regulations on gun owners during her first interview in the general election.
Tipirneni, who is running for the open U.S. House seat in Arizona’s eighth congressional district, appeared on 3TV’s “Politics Unplugged” to talk about her ongoing campaign and what she wants to accomplish in Washington, D.C., if elected.
Tipirneni and host Dennis Welch touched on several issues throughout the interview, including the administration’s trade policies — which the Democratic candidate dismissed as not “well thought-out” — and the country’s immigration system.
“I absolutely support a clean DREAM Act if possible but definitely that path to citizenship,” she said, defending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy implemented by President Barack Obama. “You know, it starts with temporary permanent residency and then permanent residency and then citizenship.”
Tipirneni contended that there is more Congress can do to secure the border between the U.S. and Mexico but argued that “the wall is not the answer … The idea of a wall is not going to make us safer.”
When pressed for details on her notion that the border wall funding should be directed elsewhere, the Democratic candidate responded that “clean energy” and “renewable energy sources” would be a better place to spend the money.
Debbie Lesko, the Republican nominee, took a different tune, calling DACA “totally unconstitutional” and saying that “what we have now is basically amnesty.”
“I agree with President Trump’s plan to secure the border because government’s number-one role is protecting its citizens,” Lesko, a former state senator, said. “I think we need to build the wall. We need to add more border agents. We need to end the chain migration.”
Welch then asked Tipirneni, the Democratic candidate, about her thoughts on the second amendment and whether Congress needs to take action on the issue. She responded that more gun regulations and stronger enforcement of existing regulations are needed, including “comprehensive background checks.”
“We need to make sure there’s that no-fly, no-buy policy in place,” Tipirneni said. “If you can’t fly on a plane because you’re a potential threat, you certainly shouldn’t be buying a gun. Making sure that people are properly registering their firearms and that they’re properly trained and properly storing them.”
Tipirneni also said that Congress needs to close “loopholes like gun shows and person-to-person sales and Internet sales.”
The special general election is on April 24.