• Former mayor of Redlands, California • Supports a “pathway to citizenship” for illegal aliens • Serves as Whip for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Pete Aguilar was born in San Bernardino, California on June 19, 1979. In 2001 he graduated from the University of Redlands (in California) with a degree in government/business administration. Five years later he became a member of the Redlands city council, and in 2010 his council colleagues selected him as the mayor of Redlands. After failing in his bid for a U.S. House of Representatives seat in 2012, Aguilar ran again in 2014 and was elected, as a Democrat, to represent California’s 31st Congressional District. He continues to serve there as a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the LGBT Equality Caucus, and the Pro-Choice Caucus, among others.
A noteworthy supporter of Aguilar’s congressional campaigns has been J Street, an organization that backed the Obama administration’s 2015 decision to sign the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal — which allowed the terrorism-supporting regime in Tehran to continue enriching uranium, building advanced centrifuges, buying ballistic missiles, and funding terrorism. Aguilar, however, depicted the agreement as “the best diplomatic solution available” by which “the international community” could “prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
On January 8, 2016, Aguilar stood on the House floor and characterized the infamous December 2, 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California —in which a pair of gun-toting Islamic jihadists had killed 14 people and wounded 22 others at a company Christmas party — as part of “the epidemic of gun violence” that Congress should already have addressed by passing stricter gun-control measures. He said nothing about the Islamic component of the mass murder.
In April 2018, Aguilar spoke at an event marking the 19th anniversary of the April 20, 1999 massacre in which two teenage gunmen had killed 13 people and wounded more than 20 others at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. In his address, the congressman lamented that “older generations” had “failed” the students by having done nothing more than “offe[r] thoughts and prayers without offering any solutions,” such as stricter gun-control. Aguilar also proudly announced that he was a co-sponsor of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2018, whose purpose was to “remove weapons of war from our streets.”
On his congressional website, Aguilar is described as “a steadfast supporter of Comprehensive Immigration Reform with a pathway to citizenship” for illegal aliens residing in the United States. “Bring[ing] millions of people into our economy,” says the congressman, “… will allow us to continue to set the moral standard that every other country in the world looks to for leadership.”
Aguilar has long supported the DREAM Act, legislation that aims to legalize and eventually naturalize a large number of so-called “Dreamers” — i.e., illegal-alien teens and young adults who first came to the United States as minors. By the congressman’s telling, the passage of such a law would “hono[r] our legacy as a nation of immigrants.” Aguliar likewise favors the continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was put into effect by a 2012 executive action through which then-President Barack Obama had provided the Dreamers with temporary work authorization as well as protection from deportation. “We can’t have policies that deport Dreamers,” Aguilar said on CBS News’s Face the Nation on January 28, 2018. “We shouldn’t stand for it.”
Aguilar opposed a January 2017 executive order by which President Donald Trump tried to place a temporary moratorium on the issuance of visas for people seeking to travel to the United States from seven majority-Muslim nations that were hotbeds of Islamic terrorism. In Aguilar’s calculus, Trump’s order would “do nothing to make our country safer and only sends a message of hate and bigotry to the rest of the world.” When Trump argued that adherence to his order could help prevent future terrorist attacks like the one that had occurred in Aguilar’s hometown of San Bernardino, the congressman accused Trump of “exploiting” the memory of the attack in order to push “anti-Muslim” policies.
Similarly, when President Trump in 2017 sought to use an executive order to deny federal funds to sanctuary cities across the United States, Aguilar said that Trump’s position “threatens to strip essential federal dollars from our law-enforcement community and ultimately makes our region less safe, not more secure.”
In April 2018, Aguilar criticized the Commerce Department for its announcement that in 2020, U.S. Census forms would include, for the first time since 1950, a question about people’s citizenship status. The congressman depicted that question as “a thinly-veiled attempt to bully immigrants and politicize the U.S. Census,” and as a reflection of the Trump administration’s “anti-immigrant policies.”
Aguilar has praised the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), for what he describes as its efforts to advance the cause of “freedom, justice and liberty” for “all, regardless of faith or background.” He also has stated that CAIR’s overriding message is one of “acceptance and respect.”
On January 25, 2021, Rep. Joaquin Castro introduced legislation that would bar staffers at all federal agencies “from using the derogatory term ‘alien’ to refer to an individual who is not a citizen or national of the United States.” The bill was co-sponsored by Aguilar and 10 additional members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus — Raul Grijalva, Nanette Diaz Barragan, Darren Soto, Sylvia Garcia, Jesus Garcia, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Juan Vargas, Lori Trahan, Veronica Escobar, and Ruben Gallego.
For an overview of Aguilar’s voting record on a variety of key issues, click here.
For additional information on Pete Aguilar, click here.