Radio hosts gather for nonstop broadcast
‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ aims to hold Trump, Congress to immigration promises
Talk radio hosts from across the nation are calling on Congress to support and enforce President Trump’s immigration reform proposals. In the annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio event Wednesday, more than 60 talk radio hosts gathered on Capitol Hill for continuous broadcasting focused on making sure Mr. Trump delivers on his immigration promises and Congress acts accordingly.
“The point of this is to put the members of Congress’ feet to the fire,” said conservative commentator Lars Larson, host of the nationally syndicated “The Lars Larson Show” in Portland, Oregon, “those who need to be reminded that America is a country only because it has borders that we have a right to regulate who comes in and who does not come in.”
Mr. Trump’s immigration policy includes securing a southern border by building a wall to prevent illegal crossings, detain individuals suspected of violating federal immigration laws and removing individuals whose legal claims to be in the United States are invalid.
Through a constant buzz of conversations in the ballroom of the Phoenix Park Hotel, the words “Trump,” “the wall,” and “immigration” projected through the crimson drape walls surrounding nine live show hosts.
Posters for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the nonprofit advocacy group that sponsors the two-day event, stood near the ballroom windows.
From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., a flurry of guests, members of Congress and hosts flowed throughout two levels of broadcasting rooms for interviews and debates about the status of America’s immigration policies — an issue in which the hosts say many of America’s problems are rooted.
Both Mr. Larson and Rep. David Brat, Virginia Republican, said that although Trump has not passed any immigration legislation, border crossings have dropped dramatically just from saying he will begin to enforce immigration policies.
Joyce Kaufman, host of “The Joyce Kaufman Show” at WFTL AM 850 in West Palm Beach, Florida, said Mr. Trump has done well since his inauguration, but must follow through on his promise of building the border wall and continue to advocate for victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.
“The pro-open borders people are very good at painting a sympathetic face. They use the Dreamers and families being reunited and being separated. It tugs at your heart,” Ms. Kaufman said, referring to children of illegal immigrant parents. “Trump was the first person to articulate a sympathetic side for the secure the borders crowd.”
Policies supported by FAIR include enhancing border security, reversing the Obama administration’s immigration policies, ensuring proper vetting of immigrants from countries known to harbor terrorism and eliminating “sanctuary city” policies.
For Mr. Brat, the majority of Americans support immigration reform despite what the “mainstream media says every night.” Ms. Kaufman said most Americans are afraid of voicing their support for immigration reform out of fear of being called racist.
Talk show hosts said increased jobs and security are the two main outcomes that come with an immigration reform similar to FAIR’s policies. Illegal immigrants, the hosts said, create gang and drug problems and take well-paid jobs away from American workers.
“There are people who lose their employment because they don’t speak Spanish,” Ms. Kaufman said. “This is America. As a Hispanic, I resent that.”
As Congress votes on immigration issues this week, the talk radio hosts said the responsibility for immigration reform is up to Congress.
“‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ is really not holding President Trump’s feet to the fire as much as it is holding the congressional leadership,” said Bill Meyers of “The Bill Meyers Show” on KMED AM 1440 in Medford, Oregon.
“I don’t blame the president for what the Congress isn’t doing. Same way I’m not going to blame the Congress for what the president isn’t doing,” Mr. Larson said. “But at this point, the president is doing everything he can under the law.”
“The pro-open borders people are very good at painting a sympathetic face. They use the Dreamers and families being reunited and being separated. It tugs at your heart,” Joyce Kaufman, a conservative commentator at “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” in Washington.
Conservative commentator Lars Larson says the point of the event is to hold Congress accountable.