Congressional candidate Erin Bilbray on Wednesday slammed Rep. Joe Heck, telling a Hispanic group he’s only pretending to support comprehensive immigration reform.
“Joe Heck likes to play games of sleight of hand when it comes to immigration reform,” Bilbray told a Hispanics in Politics breakfast.
She said that Heck sees Latino immigrants as “anchor babies” who won U.S. citizenship under the 14th Amendment by being born in the United States.
“Yet Joe Heck says the 14th Amendment should be put on the table” for review, Bilbray, a Democrat, told the group of about 50 diners at Dona Maria Mexican Restaurant in downtown Las Vegas. “My husband is the son of a 14th Amendment baby.”
Heck has said he’s for comprehensive immigration reform that could one day lead to a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people now living here illegally.
He also is planning to introduce his own version of the DREAM Act, which would let undocumented children of immigrants in the country illegally gain citizenship if they complete school or military service.
Bilbray, however, noted that Heck voted against the DREAM Act in Congress and is against a Senate bill for comprehensive immigration reform that has bipartisan support. Heck said he objects to the Senate bill because it would allow waiving border security provisions after 10 years. Heck voted to defund President Barack Obama’s DREAM Act program because the president went around Congress with an executive order, he has said.
Still, Bilbray accused Heck of just talking a good game on immigration because his 3rd Congressional District in Southern Nevada has a heavy Latino population and is about one-half minority.
Heck is “a do-nothing congressman in a do-nothing Congress,” Bilbray said of the two-term lawmaker.
Heck’s campaign manager, Mark Ciavola, said Bilbray was avoiding the facts to try and score political points.
“The accusations that Joe Heck doesn’t support reform and is a do-nothing congressman make it clear that Erin Bilbray plans to run a campaign avoiding the facts and avoiding reality,” Ciavola said.
Heck has worked hard on the immigration issue, meeting with advocates to hear their concerns, Ciavola said.
“He is committed to finding a solution to this issue (of immigration),” Ciavola said.
Contact reporter Laura Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2919. Follow her on Twitter @lmyerslvrj.