While I was cooking up some Thai curry for dinner, I got a phone call inviting me to join a "teleforum" with my congressman, Brian Bilbray (R-Solana Beach, CA-50). Press "1" and suddenly I'm listening to an a woman complain about how pregnant women can come across the border, give birth, and the infant is a US citizen. Bilbray of course gushes about how right she is about how wrong that is. Caller after caller is asking about illegal immigration--some woman's husband was in an ER waiting room for a broken ankle, and a Mexican (she knows this how?) family is there too, and they get served first. Even immigration extremist Bilbray can hardly keep up with the extremism of the callers on this issue. Then someone asks about employers and illegal immigration. And as nauseating as everything I'd already heard was, it didn't come close to preparing me for this.
Bilbray is complaining about people who say we need illegal immigrants because they do the manual labor and other unskilled, but necessary, work:
"What those people are really saying is that we aren't producing enough unskilled, poor workers. They're saying that we aren't producing enough poverty in this country. Well, my answer is that the federal government could produce a lot of poverty if it wanted to. We spend billions on education and training. We could create our own."
I won't do much analysis, because I think the lunacy speaks for itself. Honestly, as much as I dislike Bilbray (to put it mildly), I didn't think he would say something like this. As a constituent, I would honestly like a response from him or his staff about whether they dispute this or an explanation for what he possibly could have meant by it.
I wasn't recording the phone call (isn't that illegal?) but I wrote these words down seconds after hearing it. This is my sincere best recollection, that I believe to be accurate in all significant ways.
Update 1/30 7:45am: Bilbray should have a recording. Slowpitch (below comments) jogged my memory and there was a little recorded legal voice disclaimer thing at the beginning when I pressed "1" that warned about it being recorded. So almost certainly, Bilbray's office has a recording. Whether they will make it available, is a different story. I, for one, welcome clarification on this. I'm not going to say I didn't hear what I thought I heard, but at the same time, I remain open to the possibility that I totally missed the irony or something.