Last fall, Rep. David Dreier took a hit—but survived—from a spirited talk radio campaign to oust him from office for what some critics argued was his too-soft record on illegal immigration.
Now, one of the nation’s most powerful politicians is putting himself at the forefront of the rising immigration debate, with recent appearances on CNN and as a guest speaker this past month at the prestigious Los Angeles World Affairs Council.
Dreier, R-Glendora, is promoting two pieces of legislation he helped author that he says will reduce illegal immigration and a backlog in federal courts due to the rise in cases filed by criminal aliens.
“I’ve always been involved. I’ve always been active,” Dreier said this past week. “I’m more visible on it because there are people that have been led to believe that somehow I would be tolerant and supportive of illegal immigration, and I’m adamantly opposed to it.”
His chief legislation is a bill he recently reintroduced that would modernize Social Security cards to curb identity fraud in the workplace and stiffen penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal residents.
“He got religion late in the game last year,” said John Keeley, spokesman for the Center for Immigration Studies. “The radio guys put his feet to the fire. . . He has apparently seen the light.”