The Schmookler & Huffman Show (Episode LIX)

On Wednesday, June 20th, Andy Schmookler and I appeared on Early Mornings on 550 AM, WSVA for our monthly political radio show.  We spent a majority of our time speaking about President Trump and the recent issue of children separated from their parents who are seeking to live in the United States.

Although I would have preferred to speak more on the subject, we also touched on the 2018 primaries, the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate and the Democratic primary for the 6th district seat to replace Bob Goodlatte.

If you missed the show live, you can find it here.

Immigration on WHSV

Image from WHSV

On Friday, February 27th, I appeared live on WHSV TV-3 along with fellow local activist Rick Castaneda and anchor Bob Corso to discuss President Obama’s recent executive actions regarding immigration.

Although neither of us were certain of the questions we would be asked beforehand and I wish we would have had a bit more time to hash out our differences, I thought it was an important and interesting discussion.  You can find the clip from Friday’s show here.


Goodlatte On Immigration

Photo from Representative Goodlatte’s website

Recently, several news sources have reported that Representative Bob Goodlatte is changing his stance on immigration.  According to these pieces, Goodlatte is considering supporting some form of amnesty for illegal aliens.

For example, Politico says, “House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) says he sees ‘no reason’ why current undocumented immigrants shouldn’t gain legal status as long as Congress enacts tougher border-security and enforcement measures.”  They quote Goodlatte as saying, “‘If we can have a way to get [enforcement] up and operating, I see no reason why we can’t also have an agreement that shows how people who are not lawfully here can be able to be lawfully here – able to live here, work here, travel to and from their home country, be able to own a business, pay their taxes.'”

National Review points out that Representative Goodlatte’s website has recently been modified to remove his opposition to amnesty.  A line on his site from early 2013 which read, “we must not grant amnesty to individuals who have broken our laws” has apparently been removed and now discusses the issue stating, “we can all agree that our nation’s immigration system is broken”.

In response, less than a half an hour ago, the following statement appeared on Representative Goodlatte’s Facebook page.  “A few recent news articles have misrepresented my work and position on immigration reform. The need to reform our immigration laws is clear; however, I am opposed to amnesty and always have been. I do not support a special pathway to citizenship that rewards those who have willfully broken our immigration laws.”

It is curious to read these somewhat contradictory statements regarding Goodlatte’s stance immigration.  Will Representative Goodlatte end up supporting amnesty or some version thereof as the articles state?  Or will he oppose the plan as today’s statement indicates?

Immigration Rally Downtown

Yesterday, Organizing for America and Representative Luis Gutierrez (IL-4) held a political rally at the courthouse in downtown Harrisonburg.  Their purpose was to promote a pathway to citizenship for the countless illegal immigrants currently living within this country; a plan which detractors say amounts to nothing more than amnesty.  It proved somewhat difficult to understand all of what was being said during the speeches given that Spanish was used interchangeably with English and some of their printed materials were only available in Spanish.  Rep. Gutierrez encouraged the crowd to pressure Bob Goodlatte, the area’s member of the House, to support immigration reform.  Toward that end, the organizers passed out bottles of water that included phone numbers for Goodlatte’s office, though curiously it listed his Staunton office as opposed to the closer one in Harrisonburg.

Will the House accept some version of comprehensive immigration reform?  And what will Bob Goodlatte do?

“Conservatives” in Congress – Are They For Real?

VC note: This article was written by Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, resident of Shenandoah County, Virginia, and Republican candidate for the 6th district Virginia House of Representatives seat.  It arrived in my inbox a few moments ago with a request to have it posted on this site.  Given that I believe voter education is extremely important, I will almost always feature articles from our elected officials and those seeking office.  Thanks to Mrs. Kwiatkowski for sending it to me.  I hope you all find it enlightening.

“Conservatives” in Congress – Are They For Real?

While we wait to find out if Mr. Obama’s “national credit card” will long endure, many conservatives in the House and elsewhere are hoping that they can come out of the debt ceiling debate looking like constitutionalists.

Unfortunately, the cuts they’ve proposed thus far don’t cut very deep.  We should all be wary of current Cut, Cap and Balance proposals – setting standards based on today’s unbelievable levels of government consumption and waste would be a major mistake for the country, our children and grandchildren.

What about reining in that “national credit card?”   And what about the real cuts conservatives should be proposing, and are not?   Think about:

  • Foreign aid!  Why isn’t foreign and security aid to already wealthy and/or well-armed countries on the table?  While all recipient governments seem to expect it, it’s not fair to talk about cutting social security benefits or next year’s COLA for retirees when we keep the foreign aid spigot wide open.
  • Military streamlining!   Apparently, nothing in the military budget can be cut, even though it seems to leak money from all corners, including millions in indirect payments to the Taliban.  It’s not about almost 11 years of war in Afghanistan, or hundreds of Americans who have died or been mentally and physically maimed in that conflict.  It is about ongoing fraud and waste and a lack of clear DoD strategy that should not be rewarded by unlimited cash flows from Washington.
  • USDA and EPA grants and subsidies! Where are these programs are being cut  – even the 6th District’s long desired elimination of the ethanol subsidy is just “talked about.” Who fights against unneeded and counterproductive subsidies?
  • Congressional salaries!  A lonely proposal last February by Representative Giffords to reduce Congressional pay by 5% for a short time has languished for lack of interest.   Why haven’t federal salary and bonus reductions, and a federal hiring freeze been put on the table?
  • Obamacare!  Healthcare reform funnels more private resources into deep government ruts.  Why isn’t the widely unpopular Obamacare part of the cut list?
  • Big business and big bank bailouts and subsidies!  The Government Accounting Office (GAO) just  reported that the Federal Reserve made available (on the backs of our children and grandchildren) $16 trillion during 2008!  The current administration has placed even more on the “credit card” than did his predecessor.  This insanity should stop!
  • How about defunding the TSA, and cutting the DHS budget!   My goodness, people might actually want to take chance on a commercial flight during a TSA “holiday.”

The list could go on and on, and small savings add up to conservatism.  Freedom, too.  Why don’t we do something really radical, like letting the U.S. Constitution serve as a guide to federal spending?   Instead, we have a 6th District representative who has voted for more out-of-balance and unconstitutional budgets in his nearly 20 years we can count, all while telling stories about how “conservative” he is.

The U.S. visa lottery legislation sponsored by Mr. Goodlatte is typical and instructive.   To most 6th district voters, it sounds like a reduction in immigration – but the proposal he backs doesn’t actually reduce anything.  Instead, it converts Green Card Lottery with the just as costly to manage Employment-Based Green Card, authorizing the same number of 55,000 new visas each year – only this time to those foreign-born graduate students who have an advanced degree and are sought by a U.S. employer.  I support the free market in labor, in goods and services.   But at a time where 1 in 5 American men, including many with advanced degrees, are currently unemployed and under-employed, it seems a bit misleading of the 6th District Representative to advocate ending the Visa lottery as a way to appeal to anti-immigration sentiments and job-seekers at home.

This bait and switch routine reminds me of Mr. Goodlatte’s recent sponsorship of a bill that will maintain a 100-mile Federal zone north of the Mexican border to “enforce” border security (H.R. 1505).  Sounds good, if you don’t care about the private property of ranchers that may be included for federal rough-riding under “USDA” control through rancher participation in CRP, CREP, EQUP and CSP programs.  Sounds good, unless you believe, as I do, that the constitution requires we defend our actual borders.

I wonder, along with many in the 6th District, “Are the conservatives in the House of Representatives for real?”

Allen’s Thoughts on the Dream

Yesterday, the “Dream Act” died…at least for now.  Fortunately, supporters of illegal immigration were unable to muster the necessary sixty votes in the U.S. Senate.  Although it seems obvious to me, if you wish to discourage a behavior, like illegal immigration, shouldn’t you reject potential policies that will likely result in a greater influx of undocumented aliens?  After all, did the last amnesty as granted in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 solve our immigration problem?  Or did it only give confidence to millions and millions more to flood across the border in the hopes of gaining similar treatment at some point in the future?  A little bit ago, I received this email from former Senator and Governor George Allen regarding his opinion on the matter.

Washington Liberals Push for Amnesty

When the government rewards illegal behavior, we will get more illegal behavior.

Mt. Vernon, Va. – Former Governor and U.S. Senator George Allen issued the following statement today regarding the US Senate’s vote on the so-called Dream Act:

“If the government rewards illegal behavior, we will encourage more illegal behavior.  The so-called “Dream Act” being pushed by Washington liberals like Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Leader Harry Reid, and Senators Durbin and Kerry is a flawed piece of legislation that rewards illegal behavior with benefits paid for by taxpayers.  It is unfortunate that Senator Jim Webb chose to put the political interests of his liberal colleagues before the valid concerns of Virginians.

“As the son of a legal immigrant, I believe in the American dream where immigrants legally come to these shores to seek religious, economic and political freedom. I strongly oppose rewarding illegal behavior through amnesty and believe our first priority needs to be securing our borders.

“As Senator, I supported numerous measures to enhance border security, to ensure that felons and criminals are not given citizenship, to protect the integrity of Social Security, to establish English as the official language of the United States, while also working to encourage legal immigration to attract the best and brightest to the United States.   We need to be serious in addressing illegal immigration, and once again, Congress is choosing politics over sound policy.”

Thank you for sharing your thoughts Mr. Allen.  Although I have not gotten behind a candidate for Senate yet, I strongly believe that Virginia needs a Senator who will protect our borders, defend our laws, and not reward illegal behavior.  I think we all can agree that Jim Webb is not such a Senator.  Thankfully, in less than a year Virginians will have the chance to replace him.

The Feds v. Arizona

You’ve likely already heard the news by now.  The federal government has filed suit in Phoenix against Arizona’s illegal immigration policy.  They claim that their new law is discriminatory and will result in the harassment and detainment of scores of new immigrants and legal aliens.  This update comes as politicians across the nation prepare to enact similar legislation in their own states.  It comes as no surprise to me that the individual states look to defend their own borders given D.C.’s failure to do so.  National leaders like Senators McCain, Graham, and the late Ted Kennedy support amnesty and porous security at the expense of citizens and those who enter the country legally.  Regardless of your opinion of the specifics of the Arizona law, something must be done to solve this growing crisis.  I don’t know how this situation will ultimately resolve, but I’m glad to see a resurgence of responsibly at the state level.  That’s not to say that I support differing immigration policies across the nation, but, to restate the point, something must be done! The actions of lawmakers in Phoenix are bringing this long neglected issue to the forefront of American politics.

If Washington continues to do nothing, or, even worse, encourages foreign nationals to break our laws, then we will have to rely on the states to solve the immigration question.  So what will be Richmond’s response?

Talkin’ ‘bout our Immigration

On August 26th, while reading the Daily News Record, my local paper, I came across an article entitled, “Mississippi Plant Raid Creates Hispanic Panic.” Although the title pretty well summarizes the events of the story, it catalogs a massive search and detention of illegal immigrants by federal officials. One question that went through my mind after reading this article was, “what makes this story newsworthy?” It stated that this was the largest raid to date, but size doesn’t necessarily imply importance. Now unlike many of the other actions of the federal government, I believe that the federal government has a moral and constitutional duty to protect and defend the borders of our country from those who try to penetrate them illegally. I think the answer to my question of newsworthiness is one of rarity. Honestly, how many times can you recall hearing of raids like this in either Mississippi, or any other state, for that matter? It’s difficult to recall them, isn’t it? Why aren’t they more common? Why don’t they defend our borders? Although certainly some blame rests with the INS and other related governmental organizations, far more should fall on the shoulders of our politicians.

If you will recall from the YouTube Republican Presidential debates back in late 2007, Rudi Giuliani was accused of running New York City as a sanctuary city during his tenure as mayor. In his defense, he argued that they rounded up and detained “every single illegal immigrant that New York City could find that either committed a crime or was suspected of a crime.” Did not Giuliani see the flaw in his own logic here? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t being in this country illegally a crime in and of itself? Why would an additional criminal act be necessary to require some sort of consequences? As a public servant, wasn’t it Giuliani’s responsibility to uphold the law? Apparently others on the stage picked up on this double standard too as Mitt Romney countered, “…and the idea that they reported any illegal alien that committed a crime, how about the fact that people who are here illegally are violating the law? They didn’t report everyone they found who was here illegally.” Although I have a number of disagreements with the former governor of Massachusetts, I believe that he hit the nail on the head with this comment. Illegal means, and is, illegal. It is neither cruel nor capricious, but a provable fact. We must enforce our immigration laws uniformly across the board to all nationalities regardless of skin color or language.

Often politicians will say that illegal immigration is a problem, but it is too difficult to remove them all. Instead we should offer amnesty to the illegals that are presently here and prevent future border violations. This argument is flawed for several reasons. First, why should people who have knowing violated U.S. law be rewarded with citizenship? Certainly there are a number of deserving immigrants who are trying to enter our nation legally. In addition, I believe that aliens will always try to enter illegally. What sort of message does amnesty send to these people? Go ahead and invade our country instead of going through the legal process. We’ll give you citizenship sooner or later. Second, we tried amnesty back in 1986. Did it work? Let’s see…do we still have an illegal immigration problem today? Of course we do. We know it didn’t work back then, so what would persuade us to give it another try? It is an easy answer for politicians because it allows them the opportunity to more or less maintain the status quo and it is inexpensive. No one has to be sent out to capture and deport these aliens. Companies that violate the law aren’t held accountable. Labor costs in certain industries are kept low. Everyone wins…except of course for the vast majority of us who don’t break the law. However, if we remain silent and inactive, we are as culpable as the lawbreakers themselves.

So what can we as citizens of the commonwealth do about this issue? I highly recommend writing or calling your legislators. These people have been sent to Richmond and Washington to represent you and your concerns and it is high time we hold them to account. I say that if a politician does not uphold his or her constitutional responsibility to defend and protect our borders, then he or she does not represent us. That person is not worthy to represent either the Shenandoah Valley, or the great state of Virginia. A good number of our leaders and candidates stand with us, but others deceive us with their rhetoric and their inaction. Do your research, contact your leaders, and make your will known, not just at the ballot box in November of this year, but next year too, and every year until the problem is finally solved.