AMES-The dictionary defines a criminal as someone who is guilty of a crime. That means, by definition, illegal immigrants to the United States are criminals. If they cross our borders without permission, they are breaking federal law with their first step onto U.S. soil. However, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin has a different definition of criminal than the official one.
“I separate out people who came here illegally from people who are criminals. Obviously, they broke the law and did things that were criminal. I’m saying that, simply because they came here to work, provide for their family, they’ve broken no laws, other than coming here illegally,” Harkin told reporters on Friday. “They’re here illegally. That’s true, and they need to go through all the hoops that we put in the (immigration) bill, but I just don’t classify them as criminals.”
Harkin, and fellow Democrat Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, held a pro-immigration forum in Ames on Friday. The event was the brainchild of Durbin, who is the second highest-ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate. Durbin wanted to conduct the forum inside Congressman Steve King’s district in response to King’s much-maligned comments about illegal immigrants being drug smugglers. He chose the Fourth Congressional District’s most left-leaning city.
Although, by Harkin’s own admission, liberal activists were bused in for the event, the auditorium at Ames Middle School was only half-filled. There were around 180 pro-immigration attendees, and around 20 activists who support enforcing our immigration laws. Other media outlets reporting 260-280 attendees were erroneous.
The event centered on promoting the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, which Durbin has championed for years. The U.S. Senate recently passed an immigration bill. The Republican-led U.S. House has not taken it up, mainly because the bill does not provide border security first.
The forum was largely propagandist in nature. Along with two of the U.S. senate’s biggest liberals, the speakers included a union representative, two “dreamers”, a pastor and an immigration attorney. Senator Harkin claimed the immigration attorney “represented the business community”.
All of the speakers pushed for immigration reform. Only two questions from the audience were allowed following the speeches, so there was no time or space for dissenting views. If you were to believe Durbin, Harkin and the other speakers, you would think every illegal immigrant is a saint and drug smuggling across our southern border does not exist.
“The suggestion that these are petty criminals or drug smugglers, it just doesn’t square with the reality of the DREAM Act. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to come here today,” Durbin told the crowd.
Despite Durbin’s suppression of the facts, drug smuggling across our southern border is occurring and sometimes immigrant children are used by the Mexican drug cartels as “mules”.
Senator Durbin, who once told a group of illegal immigrants that one of them could become U.S. president one day, also praised the executive order signed by President Obama in 2012 that granted two years of de facto amnesty to illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. as children. Constitutional scholars believe the order is unconstitutional because it bypasses Congress, which is supposed to be the legislative body.
“He passed this deferred action deportation order and signed it and gave them a chance to apply to get deferred action and to stay in American without fear of deportation, under his executive order. About a half a million have done so, so far,” Durbin said.
During a press conference following the forum, Durbin and Harkin declined to call Congressman King a racist when a print reporter asked if they thought he was, but they did claim his recent comments were “misguided”. Senator Durbin, who has lived his entire life in either Illinois or Washington, D.C., also claimed, more than once, that he was there to represent “the real feelings of the people of Iowa”.
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