It was eye-opening, just how little these supposed masters of policy knew about U.S. immigration and how obviously unwilling they were even to begin thinking about it. I might as well have been asking them about conjugation of verbs in ancient Sanskrit.Similarly, with a few honorable exceptions (Senator Jeff Sessions and Representatives Lou Barletta, Steve King, Marsha Blackburn, Lamar Smith, Ed Royce, and Dana Rohrabacher come immediately to mind), gibbering inanities are the most likely responses if you ask a question about immigration at a townhall meeting of your congressman/woman or either of your senators.
If you ever find yourself falling into the way of thinking that these people we trudge out to vote for every four years are philosopher kings, let me tell you: Just sit at a table with one of them and ask him about immigration policy. That'll cure you.
Nevertheless, it's worthwhile to attend and — if you can muscle your way to the microphone — ask pointed questions on immigration for which the usual pap ("We're a nation of immigrants!!") clearly isn't responsive. Besides putting your target on notice that such mindless pap actually falls quite short when dealing with knowledgeable questioners, your appearance can also educate the rest of the audience and encourage them to "look beyond the pap" in thinking about immigration.
It's now late in the current season of townhall meetings held by congresspeople and senators during this "district work period," but more than twenty are still to happen before Congress returns to our imperial capital, the week after Labor Day. The remaining ones, from August 21 on, are listed at the end of this note, taken from a compendium assembled by the proprietor of the immigration-focused and information-packed website 24ahead.com.
Importantly, that anonymous website proprietor has also assembled lists of dandy questions to use at such townhalls, both now and at any future opportunities. Further, these questions can also be the basis for letters-to-the-editor and can be used in customizing the faxes you send via NumbersUSA. (For the latter, the postscript is a great place to use a pointed question, as it's more likely, when inserted there, to have an impact on a congressional staffer's consciousness.)
The set of questions for use with Republican big-shots is here [on the left; scroll down]. Questions primarily targeting Democrat pooh-bahs are here. And immediately below, I list a subset of each. I've modified the wording of some questions, mixed up their order, and added my own numbering. (Below the two subsets of questions is that list or remaining townhall dates and places.)
Questions for Republicans
R1. After mass legalization, will some ex-illegal aliens move up in the job market and compete with Americans they couldn't compete with before?Questions for Democrats
R2. After mass legalization, if some ex-illegal aliens move up in the job market, will there be fewer crop-pickers, etc.?
R3. Because of that, won't growers take steps to enable future illegal immigration, as they do now?
R4. Please give at least two specific downsides to comprehensive immigration “reform.”
R5. Would "comprehensive immigration reform" be a massive amnesty for businesses that knowingly hired illegal aliens—yes or no?
R6. Pretend for a second that you're Obama, Reid, or Pelosi. Why do you want immigration “reform” so much? What's your motive?
R7. You want to legalize millions of illegal aliens. Will that give more power to the far-left—yes or no?
R8. Why do the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Walmart, McDonald’s, et al. want immigration “reform” so much? What's their motive?
R9. You want higher STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] immigration. Are STEM wages increasing at a rate that would indicate that there's a shortage of STEM workers?
R10. You based your stance for more STEM-worker immigration on what hi-tech executives say. Could they be lying?
R11. Can you think of any downsides to increased STEM-worker immigration?
R12. Would many unemployed Americans do farm or similar labor if they were paid enough?
R13. An illegal alien and a similar U.S. citizen apply for one college slot. Whom do you give it to? (So, will you oppose the DREAM Act?)
R14. Besides "comprehensive immigration reform” and mass deportations, can you think of any alternatives, or is it just those two? (One alternative is attrition. If you disagree with attrition, please explain why.)
R15. At current rates, it'd take 5-10 years for the FBI to do background checks on 10 million illegal aliens. Is that acceptable?
R16. Would less-than-FBI-quality background checks be a acceptable?
R17. If you legalized illegal aliens but allowed them no chance at citizenship, how would the ACLU, NCLR [la Raza], LULAC, SPLC, etc. respond?
R18. About how many people worldwide have lower incomes than the average Mexican? (An answer within +/– one billion is OK.)
R19. Sheldon Adelson claimed today's immigration is just like that of yesteryear. He’s wrong. What are some differences between then and now?
R20. Is it accurate to call the USA a "nation of immigrants"? What about the vast majority of us who were born here? Shouldn't the phrase be a "nation of citizens"?
R21. Is farm labor heavily subsidized? e.g. Does an illegal-alien-farmworker couple who have two kids in school pay sufficient taxes to cover the public benefits their family receives?
D1. What impact will former illegal aliens moving up in the job market have on U.S. citizens in those jobs now?List of remaining townhall meetings
D2. In 2006, then-senator Joe Biden supported punishing illegal aliens' employers. How many criminal prosecutions of such scofflaws have there been since Biden became vice-president in 2009?
D3. Pretend you're a small town Wal-Mart cashier. Will immigration reform create new competitors for your job —yes or no?
D4. Some number of illegal aliens won't take part in "reform". Should we search for and deport them — or what?
D5. If, after "reform," you'll find and deport potentially hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens, why won't you do that now?
D6. Has there been a spike in inflation-adjusted farm labor wages that would indicate a shortage of farmworkers?
D7. If politicians had really wanted to enforce our immigration laws, would there be so many illegal aliens in the U.S.—yes or no?
D8. Vice-President Biden said that after immigration reform, "pay levels will go up". Is that why Big Business wants it so much?
D9. Do you and the Koch brothers generally agree on the need for increased immigration?
D10. Assume that “comprehensive immigration reform” includes big increases in “guest workers.” Will you send back to their own countries termed-out "guests" who've had kids here?
D11. Does any immigration bill that you know of punish businesses that knowingly employ illegal aliens?
D12. Isn't immigration reform "amnesty" in the sense that businesses that have knowingly employed illegal aliens won't be fined?
D13. If immigration "reform" that includes more enforcement passes, will you then urge ACLU/SPLC/NCLR/etc. to fully support it?
D14. If those who've died crossing the border had known they couldn't get a job here, would fewer of them have tried to cross?
D15. AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka said "Wages are not going up, which indicates there is no shortage." Is he right or wrong?
D16. Citizenship for illegal aliens will give them political power. Who will lose political power as a result?
(There's also a NumbersUSA page that places remaining townhall meetings on a map. You can zoom in using the magnification control in the map's lower-right corner. As there isn't 100 percent agreement between the map and the list below, it makes sense to check both.)
Time: 9 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Politician: Rep. David Valadao (Republican)
Address: Kerman Senior Center 720 South 8th Street Kerman, California 93630