Last week, the leading Republican candidate in Colorado’s most competitive congressional district said not only that he supports mass deportations of undocumented immigrants but that the U.S. should “definitely prioritize” such a program.

State Rep. Gabe Evans (R-Ft. Lupton), who’s running to represent a district north of Denver, made the comment on KNUS radio’s Jeff and Bill Show May 23 when asked: “So if Trump does get [the border] under control, and then the likely president of the United States, Donald Trump, wants to initiate mass deportations. Would you support it then?”


“I think you have to, definitely, prioritize it,” Evans told co-host Jeff Hunt. “You know, ten years as a police officer. I know that there’s a lot of violent folks that are here in this country illegally. We definitely got to go after those folks first. But like I said earlier, you know, it takes years to legally come to this country. And so you got folks that are here illegally. … Go back, wait in line, do it the right way. Stop cutting in line. You want to come here? Let’s come here. Let’s work on how we can streamline that process. But you can’t cut in line.”

In a January debate organized by the Republican Women of Weld, Evans said that people who are “in this country illegally” should “go take your place in line and do it the right way,” but he stopped short of calling for mass deportations, saying instead that once the border is scured, “then that’s the time when we can have the conversation, and say, ‘What can we do?'”

The emergence of Evans’ more right-wing stance on mass deportations comes as he faces a primary challenge from former state lawmaker Janak Joshi, who told KNUS’ Hunt on May 24 that he “absolutely” supports “mass deportations and Trump’s plan.”


“These people have just jumped the line,” said Joshi, who finished second to Evans at the GOP assembly in March but still qualified for the June 25 primary.

The mass deportation of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. could include over 10 million people who have been in the country for an average of 16 years and are woven into American communities and in the workplace (They comprise over 5% of the U.S. workforce.).

Over six million children, who are U.S. citizens, live with a parent, who is not a U.S. citizen, meaning that mass deportations would separate millions of children from a parent, causing serious psychological and economic harm. Colorado has over 300,000 undocumented residents, according to the American Immigration Council.

Neither Evans nor Joshi replied to an email asking what he would say to children who would be separated from their parent during the mass deportations — and why he thinks the other economic and human costs of mass deportations are worth it.

Evans’ stance in favor of mass deportations, including his comment that there are “a lot of violent folks that are here in this country, illegally,” reflects the position and rhetoric of Donald Trump, who — on his first day in office — wants to implement “the largest domestic deportation operation in American history.”

Trump, who falsely says migrants are fueling violent crime, wants to mobilize the FBI, ICE, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Guard, and local police to round up immigrants, while the U.S. military would construct giant detention centers along the southern border to hold people until they can be deported. Trump would cut time-consuming hurdles meant to safeguard the rights of immigrants — and U.S. citizens and legal residents alike.

Despite the logistical challenges and human and economic disruption, the call for mass deportations seems to be gaining traction in Republican circles.

In an uptick in anti-immigrant rhetoric from past elections, Republicans nationally, beyond Trump, have been using the word “invasion” to characterize the border.

Trump email on mass deportation

On Feb. 22, Donald Trump sent a mass email to donors, stating, “STOP THE INVASION. MASS DEPORTATIONS. Counties are emptying their prisons and sending the convicts STRAIGHT INTO OUR NEIGHBORHOODS. If we don’t stop Joe Biden in November, it will be the end of our country as we know it.”

Here in Colorado, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s latest 30-second campaign ad points to “an invasion at our southern border.”

“We need to shut down the border, build the wall and deport them all,” says Boebert in the ad, released last week as part of her campaign for an eastern Colorado congressional district.

On KNUS in recent months, Jeff Hunt has been asking multiple GOP candidates whether they support mass deportations.

Two of Boebert’s opponents said they would. Former talk radio host Deborah Flora, an eastern Colorado congressional candidate, told Hunt May 3 that she supports mass deportations, adding that she would start with “young, single, adult males.”

Another candidate opposing Boebert, Jerry Sonnenberg, told Hunt Feb. 14 that he’d deport masses of undocumented immigrants.

Jeff Crank, running for a Colorado Springs congressional seat, replied, “Absolutely,” when asked by Hunt on April 19 if he supports mass deportations.

Responding to Trump’s deportation plan earlier this month, Vanessa Cárdenas, Director of America’s Voice, a progressive advocacy group, said the impact of Trump’s deportation plan goes “way beyond immigrant communities.”

“This is not about the border,” said Cárdenas in a news release. “Trump is going after everyone. Dreamers, TPS holders, people who overstayed visas – anyone undocumented, even though most have lived in the U.S. for more than a decade. Trump has no solutions to the urgent problem of our broken immigration system, just fear-mongering. The impact of his agenda goes way beyond immigrant communities and would break up our families, harm our communities, and create havoc in our economy. Trump is being clear about his vision, and we must be clear about what that vision really means for American communities.”