(CNN)California Republican gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner said she favors granting a path to citizenship to the 1.75 million undocumented immigrants in the state’s labor force, staking out a position that is more progressive than many voters in the GOP base nationally and at odds with former President Donald Trump, who Jenner supported until 2018.
In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash that will air on “Anderson Cooper 360” at 8 p.m. ET Monday night, Jenner said that she decided to challenge California Gov. Gavin Newsom in the all-but-certain recall election after watching the crisis that has unfolded at the southern border where the Biden administration has been struggling to halt a surge in immigrants from South and Central America, many of them children.
“I am for legal immigration, okay. What’s been happening on the border was honestly one of the reasons I decided to run for governor,” Jenner said in the interview. “I was watching people dying come across the river, kids in cages — whatever you want to call them.”
“They should have a chance at citizenship?” Bash asked.
“Absolutely, yeah. They should. I mean, there’s a lot of people, but personally I have met some of the most wonderful people who are immigrants, who have come to this country and they are just model citizens. They are just great people and I would fight for them to be US citizens,” Jenner replied.
The former Olympian and reality television personality is facing steep odds by running as a Republican in a state where Democrats outnumber GOP voters by two-to-one. But the immigration views she expressed in the new CNN interview align with those of the majority of California Republicans, who tend to be more progressive on social issues than the Republican voters nationally who flocked to Trump’s candidacy.
A late March survey by the Public Policy Institute of California showed that 85% of Californians say there should be a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants as long as they meet certain requirements, including 68% of the state’s Republicans.
In the likely recall election, which has yet to be officially called or scheduled, all of the state’s voters will be asked two questions. The first will be whether they want to recall Newsom (yes or no); the second will be who they would like to replace him with, followed by a long list of
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