SD Congressmen React To Arizona Immigration Law
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July 9, 2010 – Where do our local congressional representatives stand on Arizona's controversial illegal immigration law? We asked Republican Brian Bilbray, and Democrat Bob Filner, to give us their take on the Arizona law, and the federal lawsuit challenging it.
Related story: SD Congressmen React To Arizona Immigration Law
AMITA SHARMA (Host): The Obama Administration sued Arizona this week over a law that requires police to question and take into custody those who cannot show they are legal residents. The U.S. Justice Department says Arizona's law should be thrown out because immigration policy is the exclusive responsibility of the federal government. We asked two of our local congressional representatives to give us their take on Arizona's controversial immigration law. Here's Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray. BRIAN BILBRAY (Congressman): We have local law enforcement enforcing federal law all the time. Bank robbery is a federal law. No one in their right mind would expect local law enforcement to not respond to a bank robbery. We have Operation Stone Garden right here in San Diego County. Our local law enforcement responds to the boats that are landing here in Leucadia and Encinitas. We don't tell those officers "oh you've got to look the other way" or you can't participate in Operation Stone Garden. So this is really kind of selective realism here. We've got to tell local law enforcement, you get to enforce the law when it comes to immigration, just like you would bank robbery, just like you do with drug smuggling, just like you do with everything else. We're not going to ask you to turn a blind eye to one segment of the illegal activity, when we expect you to take care of it all. SHARMA: Democratic Congressman Bob Filner is opposed to the Arizona law, and supports the lawsuit challenging it. But he does agree with many Americans who believe the federal government should do more to address the issue of illegal immigration. BOB FILNER (Congressman): I have to agree with those who say the Feds aren't doing their job, and I understand the frustration. But we need a comprehensive immigration reform to do that…that involves more border security that allows more effective way for people to come in here legally and work, and gives some path toward legality to those who have been here for decades. But that frustration we have to take out at the federal level, and force congress and the president to do our job. But the federal laws are given to enforce by the federal authorities. And, they are trained to figure out when to ask, and when not to ask, and the rules of engagement as it were. Local authorities are just going to be racially profiling, and they're just going to stop those who look like they are Hispanic.