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Rep. Duncan Hunter vows to deport U.S.-born kids of illegal immigrants as Arizona brushfire hits California

April 29, 2010 |  9:46 am

  Protestors gather at Tax Day Tea Party in Denver April 15, 2010 by Getty Images

It happened, naturally, at a "tea party" rally. California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, in Ramona on Saturday speaking to his conservative base, was asked if he would support the deportation of American children born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants. “I would have to,” he said. Then he explained:

It’s a complex issue and it’s … you can look and say, ‘You’re a mean guy, that’s a mean thing to do, that’s not a humanitarian thing to do.’ We simply cannot afford what we’re doing right now. California’s going under.... Between $10 [billion] and $20 billion in this state that we spend on immigration -- that's health services, that's education, and jails. We just can't afford it anymore.... We’re not being mean. We’re just saying it takes more than just walking across the border to become an American citizen. It's what's in our souls.

Afterward the freshman congressman -- he took his father's seat after the senior Duncan Hunter, a 25-year veteran of Congress, lost his presidential bid in 2007 and left politics -- told the North County Times that he backs a House resolution, HR 1868, that would eliminate automatic citizenship for those children.

He also called Arizona's new immigration law allowing law enforcement officials to....

...pursue illegals with an ID check  "a fantastic starting point" in addressing the nation's immigration woes. No word yet on what he thinks about Alabama gubernatorial candidate, Tim James, who is vowing that that, if elected, he will allow the state's driver's license test to be conducted only in English.

James, a Republican whose father is former Alabama Gov. Fob James, thinks offering the test in many languages is costly and misguided. As he says in his ad:

Why do our politicians make us give driver's license exams in 12 languages? This is Alabama. We speak English. If you want to live here, learn it. We're only giving that test in English if I'm governor. Maybe it's the businessman in me, but we'll save money and it makes sense. Does it to you?

Already, Hunter's remarks have stirred up a firestorm of protest. Immigration activist Richard Griswold Del Castillo told Fox 5 in San Diego: "I think it's sad that an elected official like Mr. Hunter is trying to appeal to a very fringe group for political reasons. He's basically advocating violating the Constitution of the U.S. by deporting U.S. citizens."

But Hunter is not backing down. Asked if he was merely pandering to a right-wing constituency, he said: "I'm not pandering to anybody. I think we need to enforce our immigration laws."

Looks like immigration reform is becoming the new healthcare reform.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Protesters gather at Tax Day Tea Party in Denver April 15. Credit: Getty Images

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