* During his years in Congress, Rep. Bob Filner earned a reputation for having a
On February 22, 2003, he went to an El Centro, California
immigration detention facility and to see one
particular detainee. The Washington Post gives this
account of what transpired:
Imran, a Pakistani cardiothoracic surgeon and Shiite Muslim, entered
the U.S. legally in August 2000 to seek safety from Sunni Muslim
extremists in Pakistan who were targeting Shiite physicians for
assassination. His visa expired in April 2001, and he was it wouldn't
be extended. He stayed anyway. U.S. Border Patrol detained him in
April 2002 and filed for his deportation to Pakistan. While Imran
sought asylum or, alternatively, voluntary departure to Canada to
live with his Canadian wife, Heather McRae, he remained confined in
an El Centro, Calif., immigration detention facility.
Centro is in Filner's district, and Filner decided to intervene on
Imran's behalf. One night in February 2003, accompanied by McRae and
two reporters, Filner appeared at the facility's entrance and
demanded to speak with Imran. Juan Ramirez, an Immigration and
Naturalization Services officer at the door, told him that only McRae
could enter. Filner grew indignant and asked the officer: "When
was the last time you read the Constitution?" The officer called
his supervisor, who instructed to him to bar Filner from admission
and call the police if Filner became difficult. After ten minutes of
further argument, during which Filner challenged accompanying INS
officers Ruben Garcia and Jorge Bribiesca with - "Are you going
to stop me, big man… Are you going to shoot me? Are you
going to arrest me?" - Filner forced his way in.
INS and security officers confronted Filner inside and ordered him to
leave. He only grew more defiant and told them that he wanted to "
see my constituent and I am not moving from here until I do so."
As officers converged, he tried to push his way through and around
them, but was eventually subdued. Local police arrived, but Filner
had already ceased resisting and they declined to file charges.
Filner did, however, get his wish-senior officers later contacted
Filner that evening and granted him permission to speak with the
detainee. Filner returned and spoke with Imran, then approached
Ramirez and apologized for his earlier conduct.
August 19, 2007, Filner had an altercation with
a United Airlines employee in Washington's Dulles Airport.
According to witnesses, the congressman, angry at the length of time
he had been waiting to receive his checked baggage, pushed the
employee and tried to gain access to an area reserved exclusively for
authorized personnel; he then ignored orders that he leave
the area. The employee subsequently pressed charges against Filner.
26, 2007 Filner entered an Alford plea, meaning that while
he maintained his innocence, he acknowledged that there was
sufficient evidence with which a prosecutor could likely convince a
judge or jury of his guilt. In exchange for Filner’s plea,
prosecutors reduced the misdemeanor “assault and
battery” charge to a “trespassing” charge. Filner was
fined $100 and was ordered to write the employee a letter of apology.