Supporters of state assembly candidate Rudy Salas have voiced concern that Pedro Rios came to the United States illegally, and that Rios is against the Dream Act, which would help people just like him.
Rios answered those questions in a candid interview with 17 News Wednesday, saying he has nothing to hide and is glad to set the record straight.
"I came here illegally. I had no papers," said Rios.
Pedro Rios says he grew up in Mexico and lived in a small town in the Sinaloa mountains where he could only get a 6th grade education. So, his uncle decided to bring him to America when Rios was nine years old, to get a better education.
Rios says he earned full U.S. citizenship in 1996.
"It was under the Reagan administration that there was that amnesty program that I was able to acquire my legal residence in this nation," explained Rios.
This may come as a surprise, as Rios has been critical of the Dream Act, which would allow some undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States.
Rios says he supports a path to citizenship, but the Dream Act is not the answer.
"This is all a political move. It is a short bandage, short solution. It is time that our people are not just satisfied with crumbs. We want the pie," he said.
17 News spoke with Rudy Salas' campaign manager. He told us Salas was born in Bakersfield, and his father was born in Texas.