In response to a comment by “Rottenchester” in the post, Sometimes We Are Blessed, the following are transcripts of recent calls I’ve received from the NRCC in support of Rep. Kuhl’s candidacy. The first is a complete transcript. The second is a partial transcript, as I picked up the phone mid-message to talk to the caller. Either the caller didn’t engage with the recipients, or it was an automated call (although it didn’t sound automated – I could be wrong).
Hi. My name is Scott and I’m calling with an important message about our upcoming congressional election.
Our nation is now facing a crisis. The United States now serves as the home to eleven million illegal immigrants and the number grows every year. But instead of protecting our borders, Congressional Candidate Eric Massa opposes the immigration bill that would build a fence along the border with Mexico, force employers to verify the legal status of their workers, and toughen the penalties on illegal immigrants caught in this country.
Eric Massa is wrong on illegal immigration and wrong for congress.
Paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee and not authorized by any candidate or (?) committee. http://www.nrcc.org
Hi. My name is Sara and I am calling with an important message about our upcoming congressional election.
New Yorkers already pay too many taxes, but evidently Eric Massa doesn’t think so. Congressional Candidate Eric Massa opposes the recent tax cuts which reduced income taxes for everyone who paid…
We’ve already discussed the Eric Massa Tax Position issue on this site; now we will address the immigration issue.
From Mr. Massa’s website:
…But clearly, today we face a new problem: a growing wave of illegal immigration. It’s a serious problem, for one thing because it is a national security concern. It’s also a complicated economic problem.
The biggest problem, though, is that the Bush administration and Congress have only just now recognized it, and suddenly immigration is on everyone’s agenda. After years of looking the other way as illegal immigration exploded, this Administration is manufacturing yet another crisis to divert attention from its multitude of failures, particularly in Iraq. And their -solutions- won’t even begin to solve a problem that has been building for years and which has become institutionalized at multiple levels in our society, especially the economy.
The Bush Double Flip Back in 2005, President Bush promised to add 10,000 extra border patrol agents (2,000 per year). Naturally, these agents would be the extension of our current border patrol efforts. And then he never followed through. Instead, when no one was looking, he and the rubber-stamp Congress cut the funding for these agents from the budget, to save money. Now they’re calling for the National Guard to solve the problem. Before loading up the over-extended National Guard with another impossible task, Congress and the Administration should follow through on their original promises.
Secure the Borders. Our first priority must be to secure our borders. In a post-9/11 world, we simply must have control over who comes and goes. But we can do it smart. Security must go hand-in-hand with a sane approach to the complex political and economic ramifications of the demand for immigrant labor, and the understandable desire of immigrants for the opportunity for a better life.
It’s all about Economics. The real drivers of this -crisis- are fundamental, structural issues of economics, and any solution that doesn’t address the economics won’t work. We must engage our trading partners to the south in honest discussions about their practices of exporting their unemployment into our country. We must also admit that workers enter this country illegally because there is a demand for their services: cheap labor, no benefits. And it’s not just businesses and corporations that like it this way. I don’t hear many calls from the anti-immigrant crowd for boycotts of goods that we get more cheaply because they’re produced with illegal labor – including fruits and vegetables, or cheaper houses and buildings.
The X Factor. Experts have estimated the number of illegal immigrant currently residing in the U.S. is between 15-20 million. And in the debate about what to do with them, amnesty has become the dirty buzzword. This is not a choice between amnesty and deportation. We must develop a multi-faceted and humane approach to dealing with the illegal immigrants living here and working here. For some that will mean work visas, for others, earned citizenship, and for a few, deportation, but no one should be rewarded for breaking the law.
Rep. Kuhl’s Campaign Website does not list the issue of immigration. I was able to find KUHL SUPPORTS THREE BILLS TO STRENGTHEN OUR BORDERS, and KUHL VOTES TO PROTECT OUR NATION’S BORDERS. According to this article, Rep. Kuhl recently “issued a press release stating his support for a guest worker program that would allow immigrants to work legally under certain guidelines”; however, I was unable to source that press release.
I found the following passage from a NY Times article dated 10/28/06 interesting:
Mr. Kuhl has run into this frustration on the campaign trail. In a meeting on Tuesday with about 60 farmers, who rely heavily on Mexican immigrants to harvest their crops, he heard an earful.The farmers were upset at Congress — and disappointed in Mr. Kuhl — for approving an immigration bill that is heavy on enforcement, but does not provide for a guest-worker program that they say would solve their labor-shortage problems. President Bush signed the bill into law on Thursday.
“They’re the best thing we’ve got going for us, and they’re fundamental to our survival,” he added.Mr. Kuhl told the farmers that he had been convinced that a such a guest worker program might, indeed, make sense.
“The timing is right, from my perspective, to move on a legal, temporary work force for agriculture,” Mr. Kuhl said in an interview after the meeting.
Here is another article regarding feedback from area farmers:
Mark Nicholson was among those who gave Kuhl an earful at a public hearing on federal farm policy in Canandaigua in June. Farmers stressed they needed a guest worker program because stepped-up enforcement of immigration laws was driving out their work force.
While a Senate bill on immigration includes a guest worker provision, a House immigration bill that addresses border security and similar issues, contains no such allowance. …
“Randy Kuhl voted last year to make the unknown hiring of an undocumented worker a felony,” said Massa, referring to the House bill Kuhl supported. “Now farmers are struggling just to get their crops in. Why did he vote against their interests?”
Massa and Kuhl both agree that we must secure the border. Massa believes that we must address the root causes of what brings the illegals here in the first place. NY District 29 farmers are upset that a “guest worker provision” was not included in the House version of the immigration legislation. Kuhl has recently signed on to support a “guest worker program”. Massa doesn’t want to make “felons out of farmers”; Kuhl supports the criminalization of employers hiring illegals, either knowingly or unknowingly. “Massa denounced the bill as a ‘draconian, right-wing assault’ that could end up hurting local wine growers by making them criminals if they hire immigrants who are later found to be illegal.”
If you have additional questions on where the candidates stand on the immigration issue, please call their campaign headquarters.