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  1. #1
    Senior Member zeezil's Avatar
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    GROUPS FIGHTING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION HAVE REASON TO CHEER

    GROUPS FIGHTING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION HAVE REASON TO CHEER
    Thu Oct 4, 7:58 PM ET

    WASHINGTON -- Since the late '70s, I have attended the annual fall meetings of a group called FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Although small and not well-known, it is the major citizens' group fighting illegal immigration, and its meetings have been instructive of how public opinion was moving.

    For years, the meetings, held in hotels, were small and unprepossessing -- just ordinary folks concerned about their country being overwhelmed by illegals. The group's headquarters are in unimposing offices on Connecticut Avenue that would surely not frighten any member of Congress or lobbyist into thinking of FAIR in terms of power.

    The meetings are composed of the kinds of Americans you used to meet everywhere: neighborly, friendly, unimpressed with their importance, but also increasingly angry at being forgotten and ignored. Over the years, as America's careless policy of open borders has kept the number of illegals growing -- 3 million ... 6 million ... 8 million ... now at least 12 million and maybe as many as 20 million -- there was a feeling at the meetings of just hanging on.

    Too much raw power was on the other side, in the big corporations seeking cheap labor, in the Catholic Church seeking more members, in unconcerned Americans seeking not to have to act in the public realm or raise their voices. But there was a stubborn attitude at the meetings of "This is not right, and somehow we're not going to put up with it!" That attitude has been boiling inside more and more Americans.

    Then came this year. After months of confrontations last spring and summer in Congress between liberals and big corporations on one side and average citizens on the other, FAIR has come into its own. At the meeting here on Sept. 29, there was still a slight subtext of fear -- but this time it was fear of being too confident and of losing the gains of the last six to eight months as all the pro-immigration bills in Congress were defeated, in effect by citizen action itself.

    "What happened this last summer was a profound moment in the movement," Dan Stein, president of FAIR, said to start out the meeting. "We saw the new technologies giving the American people unprecedented capacity to participate in this public debate -- we saw the little mouse defeating all the big corporations, although we were being outspent by, what, $10 million to 1?"

    "I hope," he said at one point, "we don't underestimate how rapidly things are changing -- but we also must understand that we are involved in a quiet revolution among the American people, with FAIR and the allied organizations and the visionaries."

    Then he gave the big news. After all these years in their nice but prudent suites on Connecticut Avenue, the FAIR staff were moving to new offices just off Capitol Hill, where they would have regular press briefings, full audio-visual studios, and the capacity to train numbers of activists.

    If this was at least a temporary victory, it was one of the most original in recent history.

    Citizen anger and potential power, loosely organized by FAIR, with its 250,000 members, and allied groups, this time was closely tied up with talk radio, whose hosts are mostly anti-illegal immigration. At one point, 37 talk-radio hosts came together to push the cause, which was the first time such a thing had happened, according to Steve Gill, a prominent pro-FAIR talk-radio host in Tennessee.

    "We're in the middle of an information revolution," he told the group. "Before talk radio, something you could listen to on the car radio and bang your car (if you became angry). Now you can call in and make it an interactive communication. We are at the mike, but you control the volume."

    Former Colorado governor Richard Lamm, an active force in immigration reform, chimed in with the same idea. "Dan Stein talked about new forces that erupted in our favor," he said, "but there are also new institutions that have done so -- like talk radio."

    At the same time, FAIR launched a huge call-in campaign to representatives and senators over the bills put forward last spring. They said that anti-illegal immigration calls outnumbered pro-immigration calls in general by 50-to-1; and at least one senator received 10,000 calls in three days, virtually all anti-illegal immigration.

    Another factor that emerged stronger this year was the idea that language must be clearly defined. "They are not 'immigrants,' they are 'illegals,'" Steve Gill insisted. "But the other side likes to define them as immigrants because that harkens back to the old image of America." He was also insistent upon clarifying that "racism is not the issue," because, "if we bordered China, we would have 16 million Chinese." The question of who comes to America is simply distance: "If I can walk five miles, it is surely better than swimming 4,000 miles."

    What I saw and heard at this year's meeting, then, was an altered mood, a new if cautious optimism and a new set of techniques for encouraging citizens to deal with the most important domestic issue of today.
    http://news.yahoo.com:80/s/ucgg/2007100 ... sontocheer
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Populist's Avatar
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    This is good to hear because our challenges are great -- especially if the Democrats gain more seats in the Senate and/or House next year, and *gulp* the presidency. And the business and ethnic advocacy groups are much better funded than our side is as FAIR points out. But the majority of Americans oppose amnesty and want border security; we just have to get our message out.

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    Senior Member Paige's Avatar
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    I am in great hopes that Pelosi and Bullary will keep people from voting Democrat. Also. we still need to stop the illegal immigrant voters. That is to me the most important job of all.
    <div>''Life's tough......it's even tougher if you're stupid.''
    -- John Wayne</div>

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    Senior Member Populist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paige
    I am in great hopes that Pelosi and Bullary will keep people from voting Democrat. Also. we still need to stop the illegal immigrant voters. That is to me the most important job of all.
    Illegal voters are certainly a concern; I'm also concerned that voters are so P.O.'d at Bush's handling of the war (and other issues) that they'll take it out on Republicans, like last November. Hope I'm wrong, but I don't see this aspect improving that much in another year. Plus there are more GOP senators up for reelection, several are retiring, and the Dems are raising much more money than the GOP. We're going to have to rally behind a top tier GOP prez candidate soon, and it's not Guiliani.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Populist
    Quote Originally Posted by Paige
    I am in great hopes that Pelosi and Bullary will keep people from voting Democrat. Also. we still need to stop the illegal immigrant voters. That is to me the most important job of all.
    Illegal voters are certainly a concern; I'm also concerned that voters are so P.O.'d at Bush's handling of the war (and other issues) that they'll take it out on Republicans, like last November. Hope I'm wrong, but I don't see this aspect improving that much in another year. Plus there are more GOP senators up for reelection, several are retiring, and the Dems are raising much more money than the GOP. We're going to have to rally behind a top tier GOP prez candidate soon, and it's not Guiliani.
    Your concerns are well placed and I share each one of them. I don't, however, see a panacea in the form of the Republican Party. The vote on the Immigration Reform Act was probably the truest bipartisan effort in the senate this year. Leading the charge were John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and many other Republicans. Chambliss and Isakson of Georgia were strong supporters until the opposition got so loud they could hardly set foot in the state.

    None of the presidential candidates in the top tier have expressed a willingness to oversee enforcement of immigration laws and security of the border. Unless a compromise can be forced before the General Election we will have to depend on a strong congress to get the job done. In that vein, we need to be very suspicious of senators who supported the act initially and have now developed a Judas-like position. If they are re-elected to a six year term they can thumb their nose at us.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Populist's Avatar
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    I know, it's sad when members of both parties (e.g., Kennedy teaming up with Kyl) ignore the will of the people and try to shove amnesty and further lawbreaking down our throats. This said, however, while the vast majority of Dems are worthless on this issue, it has been mainly due to Republicans that amnesty has been stopped so far this year.

    Regarding top tier GOP candidates, Romney has said he does not support amnesty, and supports attrition through enforcement of existing laws as a way to deal with the illegals who are here -- unlike Guiliani who supports "pathway" amnesty (and probably Thompson as well). I know Romney can flip flop, but at least he is going on record and saying the right things. I still support Tancredo and hope that he continues his message, but at this point I will support Romney if it comes down to him versus Guiliani.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Paige's Avatar
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    What we need is a knight on a white horse.
    <div>''Life's tough......it's even tougher if you're stupid.''
    -- John Wayne</div>

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