Republican Scott Sturgill appears to be positioning himself for the general election in his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, at least when it comes to immigration issues.

In a recent interview on Central Florida’s Spectrum News 13, Sturgill said he was in favor of giving undocumented immigrants three months to “get their ducks in a row” and start the process to become legal U.S. residents.

“I think 99 percent of the immigrants who are here are just trying to make things better for their family. Did they come here illegally? Yes. But should we hold that against them? No, again, I think we need to look at the whole issue in broad,” he said.

“Are they creating valuable services that we need as a country? Yes, in most cases they are. So, my proposal would be give them three months to get their ducks in a row, get going through the process — because the immigration paperwork process is a long time, it’s an 18- to 24-month process. Let’s find out some kind of a penalty that they’ll have to pay and then let’s let them try to achieve the American Dream.”

Sturgill then clarified he was okay with “expelling” undocumented immigrants who commit violent crimes.

The stance is a departure from the boilerplate Republican position on illegal immigration — many of his GOP peers argue that the act of entering the United States illegally is cause enough for deportation.

Sturgill faces state Rep. Mike Miller and Vennia Francois in the Republican Primary for CD 7.  In Miller’s eyes, Sturgill’s position on immigration is basically amnesty.

“Uh yeah – he basically says 99% of illegals should only have to wait 3 months, pay a penalty and then start the process to become American citizens – I don’t remember what the actual Gang of 8 bill was, but I’m sure the ‘path to citizenship’ was longer than 3 months.  The part that is striking is when he says – ‘did they come here illegally? Yes.  Should we hold that against them? No,’” he said.

CD 7 covers Seminole County and north and central Orange County, stretching to downtown Orlando. Since redistricting ahead of the 2016 election, it has changed from a safe Republican seat to one with a slight Democratic advantage.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

The clip of Sturgill’s interview is below.

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