Letter to the San Diego Union Tribune From CA Senator Bill Morrow:

In his Aug. 17 column, “Immigration and the opportunists,” Ruben Navarrette made several allegations regarding the forum on illegal immigration I sponsored on Aug. 11 in Carlsbad, including charges of racism against most who oppose illegal immigration.

Screaming “racist” is the illegal immigration lobby’s desperate strategy to divert the public’s mind from the real issues at hand: economic stability, national security and the rule of law. Several of the forum’s speakers, including two Latinos of Mexican ancestry, made this point. The only people who raised the issue of race were the self-described “open borders” anarchists outside who ranted racial epithets through their bullhorns.

They ignore that two Democratic governors of other border states have issued formal disaster proclamations over the effects of illegal immigration on their states, one of whom is a Latino. Both count huge Latino populations among their political constituencies.

Navarrette says the forum was not a two-sided debate. But then, I never intended it to be. The public gets the pro-illegal tripe daily through the mainstream media. The pro-illegal side doesn’t need equal time. The pro-rule-of-law side does.

We deliberately tried to provide balance and present information consistent with the event’s theme, clearly stated in its title: “The Illegal Immigration Crisis: The Defense of our Nation Starts at Our Borders.”

Navarrette also claims that “Morrow’s minions kept a tight rein on who was let into the event and who wasn’t.”

The Carlsbad Police Department and the Carlsbad Community Cultural Arts Center were in charge of the process by which attendees were allowed in. The facility has a finite amount of seats, which was reduced to 403 by the police department for security reasons.

The police requested numbered tickets to keep accurate count of the people admitted. So we issued free tickets to those in line as of 5 p.m. under no criteria other than the order they got into line. The number of attendees allowed inside was strictly enforced ? not by “my minions” but by the deputy fire marshal and by Carlsbad Fire Chief Kevin Crawford, both of whom where present during the entire event.

Navarrette was made fully aware of all this by my on-site coordinator and saw for himself the limited seating available. Yet he misrepresented what he saw and heard.

As for allegations of “opportunism,” as early as 1993, upon entering the Legislature, I authored legislation and have worked on this issue. I was an original supporter of Proposition 187. I introduced three more bills on this topic and I first began coordinating with the office of Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., on this forum long before anyone knew there would be a race for Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s seat.

And for the record: I’m not anti-immigrant. I have legal immigrants from Mexico on my staff. I’m merely opposed to illegal behavior.

California Senate
District 38


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