Rios: I came to America undocumented

The republican candidate for California's 32nd District State Assembly seat is admitting he came to America as an illegal immigrant.

Pedro Rios became a US citizen in 1996, but with just a couple weeks  until the election his past continues to stir up controversy.

 Republican Pedro Rios says he can't tell a lie.

"I came without no papers. That's the honest truth,” said Rios.

Rios tells 23 ABC that at just 9-years-old, family member moved him to The United States from Mexico without obtaining the proper paperwork with The State Department.

"My opportunities in my small village in Mexico were very limited. The highest grade that I could get was 6th grade and an uncle of mine brought me here,” said Rios.

Rios says he has another famous California republican to thank for becoming a US citizen in 1996 at the age of 23.

"It was an amnesty program provided by President Ronald Reagan and it was that program that eventually allowed me to work my way through earning my citizenship,” said Rios.

Once being an illegal immigrant himself, Rios says he is against The Dream Act because he says that democrats are using the issue of immigration for political gain,  instead of introducing legislation that provides immigrants with better opportunities here in America.

"To get here to America, it is dangerous. Some of these folks risk their lives. Some of them know they will never make it here. They are robbed. They are killed. They die of dehydration, thirst. Some of the young ladies are abused,” said Rios.

We did speak with someone from Rois' opponent Rudy Salas' campaign, and they declined to comment on this story.

Democrat candidate for the 32nd District State Assembly seat, Rudy Salas has also released a campaign ad that sheds light on Rios' 1994 conviction of selling alcohol to someone under the age of 21 while working at a convenience store in Delano when he was 21-years-old.

Rios claims the ad is misleading and suggests the incident happened while working as a teacher, when in fact it happened two years before Rios ever stepped foot into a classroom.

Salas says the ad does not suggest Rios provided alcohol to people who were underage while working as an educator, and that the public deserves to know who they are voting for.

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