Ra­dio hosts gather for non­stop broad­cast

‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ aims to hold Trump, Congress to im­mi­gra­tion prom­ises

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION - BY SARAH NEL­SON

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.”

PHO­TO­GRAPHS BY SARAH NEL­SON/THE WASH­ING­TON TIMES

“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.

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