The Bilbray Position
ENFORCEMENT ONLY. Bilbray has been a longtime foe of common sense immigration reform and an advocate of restrictionist policies. His Citizenship Reform Act, introduced in 1995, would have amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to remove the right to citizenship automatically granted to people born in the United States. "It explicitly distinguishes between legal and illegal aliens, thus eliminating the automatic citizenship status which creates a powerful magnet for illegals to access and abuse the existing welfare state," a press release from his office said. [Congressional press release, 12/12/95] In 1996, Bilbray voted to allow states to refuse to educate the children of illegal immigrants.
"We are ending illegal immigrants' guaranteed right to a free education, a right which cost California taxpayers $ 1.7 billion last year," he said in a press release. "Guaranteed public education for illegal immigrants has disproportionately impacted our working class school districts, like Imperial Beach, where I grew up. We should not ask the working class of this country to bear this responsibility when the federal government is not willing to uphold its responsibility to secure our borders." [Congressional press release, 3/21/96] In May 2007, Bilbray wrote an op-ed for the Politico, in which he said Congress should not "allow a policy to move forward that rewards illegal activity and puts 12 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship." [Politico, 5/15/07] In March 2008 Bilbray, along with Rep. Health Shuler, D-N.C., wrote an editorial for the Washington Times in which they touted their Secure America through Verification and Enforcement Act, or SAVE Act. "The SAVE Act provides a three-pronged approach to curb illegal immigration: enhanced border security, employment verification and dramatically increased enforcement of our nation's existing laws," they wrote. "However, what's not included in this bill amnesty has given it so much widespread appeal. While we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws. We should not reward those who come to our country illegally and punish those who abide by the law." [Washington Times, 3/14/08]
Rep. Bilbray's campaign website continues his attacks on illegal immigration. "Illegal immigration is one of the most pressing issues facing our state and our nation," the website states. "Over the next year, I will endeavor to commit as many candidates as possible to join me by pledging their support to ten essential border security and immigration reforms." Among the reforms are expediting the deportation of undocumented immigrants, allowing the military to be deployed on the border, completing an extensive border fence, hitting employers with stiff penalties for hiring undocumented workers, prohibiting undocumented immigrants from receiving Social Security benefits and "limiting birthright citizenship to the children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents." He also wants to see "comprehensive border and immigration enforcement legislation to end countless other loopholes that benefit illegal aliens and those who profit from their crime of illegal presence in the United States, to give law enforcement the tools and permission to enforce the laws and to compensate states for the financial impact of illegal immigration." [Brian Bilbray for Congress, accessed 10/21/08]