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A Californian’s Response to Immigration Reform, Part One

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Posted on May 1 2010 9:00 am
Elise Cooper is a freelance author focusing on the conservative point of view on issues involving national and homeland security. Her articles have been published by various conservative blogs, magazines and Republican newsletters.
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Brian Bilbray is a Republican Congressman who serves the San Diego area. He is also chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus. He talked to NewsReal Blog about his views on immigration reform.

NewReal Blog: What is your opinion on Arizona’s new immigration law?

Congressman Bilbray: I can understand how Arizona is fed up with the lack of federal action and has attempted to do something consistent with federal law.

NRB: How would you answer the criticism that it violates civil rights?

Bilbray: I do not agree with that assumption. The fact is the Obama Administration tries to find excuses not to enforce the law. Illegals are illegals regardless of where they come from.

NRB: What about the criticism that local jurisdiction does not apply to a federal issue?

Bilbray: This argument is absurd. Are they saying that local jurisdiction should not be involved in enforcing our drug laws? Local law enforcement is the back bone of all law enforcement.

NRB: What about the argument that legal Hispanics will now be signaled out?

Bilbray: The issue really comes down to the fact, does law enforcement have the right to detain someone because they have broken the law? You can’t say that policy applies to everything else except illegal immigration. The enforcement of the law should not be modifying its legal standards for one group or another.

NRB: Francis Townsend, former Homeland Security Advisor under President Bush, commented that if someone is arrested their status should be checked-do you agree?

Bilbray: Yes if there is probable cause. Especially is someone does not have insurance or a drivers license.

NRB: What do you think is the source of the problem for illegal immigration?

Bilbray: The number one bullet point is the employers who violate the law. We need to separate the employer who may accidentally hire illegals from the ones who knowingly falsify documents.

NRB: How would we do that?

Bilbray: Initiate a national policy of E-Verify which would allow the government to determine if the employer knowingly hired an illegal immigrant.

NRB: For our readers can you briefly explain what E-Verify is about?

Bilbray: It is an Internet-based system that allows an employer, using information reported on an employee’s form to determine the eligibility of that employee to work in the United States. For most employers, the use of E-Verify is voluntary and limited to new hires only. Every Federal Government agency must use E-Verify. The Obama Administration has mandated that all contractors with the federal government use this system.

NRB: Is it a complicated process that will frustrate employers?

Bilbray: It will actually make it easier for the employers to determine who is illegal and who is legal. If Congress can use the system anyone can use the system. All the employer needs to do is take the name, social security number and punch it in the system.

NRB: Do you think the Social Security Card should be upgraded?

Bilbray: It is the national employment card. It is outdated. It should be made tamper proof.

NRB: What should be done to make the SS card tamper proof?

Bilbray: I am in favor of biometrics. There should be two biological confirmations such as face recognition, finger prints, or retina confirmation. There should also be holograms to restrict counterfeiting.

NRB: Should states give out drivers licenses to illegal immigrants?

Bilbray: No. It makes it easier for fraud. Illegal immigrants can get one without showing any documents. The claim is they are illegal so they have no documents to prove who they are and that creates a loophole in the system.

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