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"Death of a Migra Pig": An Election Postmortem By: Lloyd Billingsley
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A week ago, against expectations, Republican Brian Bilbray defeated Democrat Francine Busby and will serve the remaining term of former Representative Randy Cunningham in California's 50th Congressional District. It was the most closely watched race in the election, very much at the top of the Democrats’ agenda. They immediately claimed that Bilbray won only by demagoguing he immigration issue. They were half right: immigration was the issue, but far from demagoguing it, Bilray merely fulfilled a long commitment. In fact, his victory shows not only where we are going on immigration but where we are coming from as well.

Go back to March of 1995, during Bilbray's first stint as a congressman, and to an event that showed both his long involvement in immigration and how long this situation has been intellectually and politically rancid. After Border Patrol agent Luis Santiago fell to his death while pursuing illegals. Voz Fronteriza, an officially recognized student publication at the University of California at San Diego, responded with "Death of a Migra Pig," an editorial celebrated both the death of Santiago and calling for the killing of federal agents.


"We're glad this pig died, he deserved to die. All Migra pigs deserve death," said the officially funded UCSD publication. "We do not mourn the death of Santiago, instead we welcome it. Yet it is to [sic] bad that more Migra pigs didn't die with him…All of the Migra pigs should be killed, every single one. There are no good Migra agents; the only good one is a dead one."


Richard Atkinson was chancellor of UC-San Diego at the time. When the "Death of a Migra Pig" editorial was published, neither he nor other officials issued a public statement of protest. Later UCSD vice chancellor Joseph Watson defended the free-speech rights of Voz Fronteriza but did not condemn the editorial, claiming that the university was legally prohibited from censuring the content of student publications. But Bilbray, whose 49th Congressional District bordered Mexico, did not hesitate to speak out.


"I condemn this type of hate speech and the violent actions that it condones and encourages," Bilbray told the Washington Times. "Agent Santiago died upholding our laws, the very laws that protect the authors of this cowardly diatribe against him."


Voz Fronteriza is one of a number of officially recognized "alternative" publications on University of California campuses. In 1994, the year before the editorial, it received $6,000 from student activity funds. Many of its writers are members of the Chicano Press Association and the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, which refers to the American Southwest as "occupied Mexico." (See "The Road to Aztlan," David Orland, Frontpage, September 22, 2003.)


The refusal of University of California officials to condemn hate speech proved a marked contrast not only to Bilbray, but to prominent Hispanics, even critics of the Border Patrol. Cecilia Munoz of the National Council of La Raza in Washington condemned the editorial as "outrageous and inhumane sentiments." She said: "I think it is hate speech and indefensible, just as white supremacism is indefensible. This country is destined to have a Border Patrol, and it must have adequate resources."


Roberto Martinez, director of the U.S.-Mexico border program for the American Friends Service Committee, a frequent critic of the Border Patrol, said he found the editorial "shocking" and was surprised that the university made no statement. "This is an inflammatory, inciteful article," Martinez said.


The incident confirmed the regime of political correctness at the University of California. UCSD chancellor Richard Atkinson suffered not at all for his appeasement of Chicano radicals in the Migra Pig case. In fact, Atkinson became president of the entire University of California system in October of 1995.


Bilbray, who grew up near the border, was elected in 1994, when he defeated Democrat Lynn Schenk. In 1998, he voted to increase the number of visas for skilled workers. Bilbray served until 2000, when he lost to Susan Davis. Afterwards, he became a lobbyist, a profession the Democrats used against him as a result of the Abramoff scandal. Also used against him was the resignation of Republican Randy "Duke" Cunningham, convicted in March on bribery charges. Democrats had hoped to capitalize and spent nearly $2 million to back Busby, a school-board member from trendy Cardiff-by-the-Sea.


Busby said the race was about ethics. Bilbray said it was about illegal immigration. Busby addressed both subjects in a Monday meeting where her remarks were recorded by a member of the San Diego Minutemen. "I want to help but I don't have papers," a Hispanic audience member told Busby. "Everybody can help, yeah, absolutely, you can all help," she replied. "You don't need papers for voting. You don't need to be a registered voter to help."


Her handlers said she misspoke but to many, but the Freudian slip “you don’t need papers for voting” was right out of the Democrats’ electoral play book. And it's not exactly ethical for someone in the country illegally to work on election campaigns. 

Bilbray won the June 6 contest to fill the remainder of Cunninham’s term. But he will face Busby again in November, when papers will still be necessary to vote. The border will be more dangerous than it was when protected radicals wrote, "All of the Migra pigs should be killed, every single one" and Brian Bilbray forcefully denounced them without having to say afterward that he had misspoken.

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Lloyd Billingsley is the author of From Mainline to Sideline, the Social Witness of the National Council of Churches, and Hollywood Party: How Communism Seduced the American Film Industry in the 1930s and 1940s.

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