When it comes to immigration reform issues, you can always count on a few Congressional representatives for flawed insight.

Take California Congressman Brian Bilbray.

Earlier this week, in a Chicago Sun Times interview, he branded the newest efforts at immigration reform as accommodating “the next wave of illegal immigrants.”

He focused his attack on the DREAM Act.

The Political Hype Begins

“Well let me tell you something,” said Bilbray, “If you want to sit there and tell people that first of all we are going to reward your children for being illegally in our country, we’re going to tell foreign nationals that play by the rules that they’ll get punished for playing by the rules, and if you’re going to tell U.S. citizens that they are going to have to stand in line behind illegal aliens when they go to college that’s just adding insult to injury.”

Empty Political Rhetoric

As a San Diego immigration lawyer, I learned about Bilbray’s habit for twisting facts about immigration reform long ago.

Quite frequently, his attacks depend on the “drowning out” effect. If Bilbray and his cohorts speak loud enough and fast enough, America citizens will not be able to figure out the truth.

Past the empty rhetoric, Bilbray’s attack fails for three reasons.

First, the DREAM Act does not reward children for being illegally in this country. It does allow some undocumented immigrant children to earn permanent residence by meeting criteria set by Congress. As a member of Congress, Bilbray has a chance to help draft the appropriate requirements.

Second, foreign nationals who play by the rules are not going to be punished for following the rules. Being an immigration family visa and green card attorney, I’m puzzled by Bilbray’s remarks.  Immigrant children who entered the U.S. under their parents’ work-based or family-based petitions already have a path to legalization. Nothing in the DREAM Act takes it away from them.

Third, what U.S. citizens are going to stand in what line behind which illegal aliens when they go to college? Is the Congressman suggesting the DREAM Act gives immigrant children an admissions preference over U.S. children? This is a play on old affirmative action emotions. The DREAM Act has no such provisions.

Instigating Xenophobia As Political Strategy

This group of sound bite politicians is not interested in honest give-and-take discussions of tough immigration issues.

Rather, their goal is to intensify xenophobic fears held by many citizens.

“Now I want to say it bluntly,” Bilbray states, “if we pass an amnesty bill like this we will not be able to build a fence tall enough to keep them from overwhelming this country.”

In their twisted view, all’s fair in love and war . . . and immigration politics.