BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) expressed “cautious optimism” today following Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff’s vow that his agency will increase efforts to expel illegal aliens from this country.

CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb last month started a nationwide “Border Control, Not Gun Control” campaign on the heels of a Zogby poll that showed that 70 percent of likely voters believe that tightening security along the nation’s borders is far more important to national security than tightening the country’s gun laws.

“We’re going to want to see just how serious an effort this is,” Gottlieb said, “but it is certainly a step in the right direction. Our members have responded overwhelmingly to our campaign to flood the White House with mail and telephone calls. Demand for our ‘Border Control, Not Gun Control’ bumper stickers has been phenomenal.

“Frankly,” Gottlieb added, “American gun owners are tired of taking the political rap for gun crimes that are being committed by people who shouldn’t even be in the country.”

Chertoff’s promise to the Senate Judiciary Committee is that his agency will put an end to what he called “catch and release” enforcement, and send back “every single illegal entrant, no exceptions.” The effort should be fully realized within a year, he said.

However, Chertoff also said the Department of Homeland Security will spend $90 million more in the next budget to increase bed space at detention centers for illegal aliens.

“The idea is not to house these people,” Gottlieb said, “but to kick them out of the country, and keep them out. This is a crime control issue, as well as a national security issue. Nearly 30 percent of our state and federal prison population consists of illegal aliens for committing violent crimes, frequently with firearms, and the solution to this problem is to secure our borders, not to pass more gun laws. Law-abiding gun owners know we’re in a crisis, and the only answer is border control, not gun control.”