Sunday, April 02, 2006

"Challengers say they agree U.S. must tighten borders, but don't support turning illegal workers into criminals"

Contra Costa Times: Pombo foes gang up on immigration -
Challengers say they agree U.S. must tighten borders, but don't support turning illegal workers into criminals

"Pombo was the only Central Valley congressman to vote in favor of the House legislation.


Pombo was unavailable for comment this week. But in a December statement, he lauded the bill as a key anti-terrorism tool. He focused on its border security provisions and its crackdown on illegal immigrants that join gangs and repeatedly re-enter the country.

"Security at our borders is paramount in our post 9-11 world, he said.

While Pombo's challengers agree the nation must tighten its borders, they don't believe that turning into criminals California's estimated 2.5 million illegal workers is practical or humane.

"Richard Pombo, himself a descendant of Portuguese immigrants," said GOP challenger and ex-congressman Pete McCloskey Jr. of Lodi. Pombo "is ... among those among those who have been panicked into thinking that somehow the national security and public opinion requires the identification, punishment and deportation of individuals who have come to California to find employment."

On the Democratic ticket, Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton advocates a three-pronged attack on reform - guest worker program, secure borders and prosperous Central American economies that allow their citizens to earn a living at home.

In a poll of Central Valley Latino voters, 74 percent said they believed illegal immigrants should be allowed to become citizens compared to 46 percent of respondents statewide.


Data provided by Statewide Voting Systems shows that 67 percent of the district's Latino voters are Democrats while 34 percent are Republican." (More-At-Source)


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