Photo: Boston Review.
Note….a report of the call below is also posted on INSIDER ADVANTAGE GEORGIA…a subscription Website, Mr. Dick Pettys editor.
Listening in on the sales pitch for immigration reform
Saturday, May 26, 2007, 05:47 PM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
On Thursday, U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson invited Republican state lawmakers in Georgia to participate in a conference call, to allow them to ask questions on the most volatile topic of the day — the immigration reform package.
About 33 or 34 participated, we’re told. The number is uncertain, because it included at least one extra ear — belonging to illegal immigration opponent D.A. King of Marietta.
At least a pair of somebodies — King won’t say who, but says the information came from more than one person — slipped him the password that allowed him to listen in.
We’re told that Chambliss and Isakson are furious about the breach.
But a brief joint statement put out by the pair on Saturday declined to address it: “Illegal immigration is a difficult, emotional issue. We are working with all Georgians to secure the border first, prohibit a new pathway to citizenship and end illegal immigration.”
We weren’t there, and can’t speak to the specifics. But this conference call — and President Bush’s trip to coastal Georgia on Tuesday — shows you the ferocity with which this issue is being debated among Republicans.
King was kind enough to type up a few notes from the group call. Much of it sounds like what Chambliss and Isakson — the two are in tight coordination — have said before similar audiences.
Perhaps the most important news that King relates is that several of the lawmakers who participated spoke of the intense public opposition to the bill that they’ve encountered.
In response, King said, the senators said there would be further discussion of a “touchback provision” that would require illegal immigrants to leave the United States before coming back under any legal status.
In addition, says King: …
PLEASE READ THE REST HERE
( it is well worth the short free registration) and see my complete notes below. Updated with link to Way Back Machine 22Mar2021 – 12:20 AM dak
Comments ( to AJC ) Read comments on AJC here Please make comments to AJC !
My notes on Thursday’s confrence call. The call was about 40-45 minutes.
Thursday, May 24, Conference call scheduled for 5:30 PM between both Georgia U.S. Senators and the Georgia state Rep/Senators.
I had access to conference number and password. I called about 5:33 and was asked the password and my name, I gave my name: Donald King – and was told that I would be on “listen only”.
Call kicked in and I heard Justin Tomzack ( Chambliss aide) in process of beginning to apologize for delay and that the Senators had been called for a roll-call vote and would be here as soon as they could.
Around 5:55 Chambliss aide Camila Knowles came on to again apologize and explain that the senators would be here momentarily…sorry sorry sorry… MUZAK on line.
Just about 6pm it was announced that the senators were now ready a minute later Saxby came on to again apologize and state that he was aware of value of time to all concerned. He said they would not talk long and would then answer questions….it was explained several times that to ask a question, one must press #1.
Chambliss led off by saying that the bill needed to be explained and that because they had both voted NO last year the White House had initiated an effort to get them involved with the new bill.
He adamantly stated that last year’s bill (s 2611) was the worst piece of legislation he had ever seen since going to Washington. “…worst legislation ever”.
He said that unless the bill “could get 60 votes…it was going nowhere”.
He said that Johnny was the main person involved with the border issues and would put him on to answer any questions on that part later.
Chambliss said that they were part of an initial group involved that included “Commerce Sec.Guiterez and others” in many long meetings to work on “amnesty or what ever” but that they were not involved in every conversation and that there were “no back room deals”. ( In AJC column they said they demanded to be included…)
“We have been able to defeat most amendments” that would have killed the bill
( he may have said “destroyed chances”…sorry)
Chambliss then went on to explain that “this stool has three legs” and pointed to border security chain migration and work place verification. Also mentioned that they would have to learn English.
There was little more outline of bill and more that they were not in all parts of conversations of deal And then he put Johnny Isakson on who began by saying he was against last years’ bill because it did nothing to secure the borders and that we need “absolute border security”
He went on to outline that the bill calls for 18,000 Border Patrol Agents to be hired and on duty and 370 miles of fence and border security must be certified by DHS…”there is no fudge factor” and no new path to citizenship..he talked about making illegals go to the back of line for as long as 8 years” and that it “could take them18 years to become a citizen”.
They talked about “no Medicaid and no DIPC”?
Isakson talked at length about an employer ID card that would “self-destruct” if the illegal changed jobs…and made a comparison to Visa cards like we use at the mall….
From here it went back and forth between them…Saxby “….this could be amnesty…but 1986 was amnesty…” Right now illegals cannot be deported” “Right now Sherriff has no authority to arrest illegals but after bill we can deport them, we can ship them out”.
He explained that if passed, “…it would be jail for them” ( maybe “illegals” sorry)
Saxby: the chain migration component is “huge”…and explained that they are no longer in majority, now we are in the minority…”
There was never a mention of the legal status granted nearly immeadiately, long before any promised new border security efforts.that is contained in the first sentence of the first page of the bill…or that about half of the illegals here did not come illegally
NOW QUESTIONS FROM LISTENERS
1st up Tim Bearden….Secure borders first…my district has no confidence and this bill has no support… Isakson: If the border is not secured NOTHING HAPPENS ( a lie)
Next Thomas Knox who pointed out that they would still be able to access emergency rooms and asked how the bill would address local expenses incurred by his district…Knox adamantly express his and his constituents “NO CONFIDENCE in federal government to keep their promise as it had not in 1986 asked why we cannot carry out existing law first with punishment for employers to stop the problem. Exact words” current law first”
Isakson answered quickly that the bill would provide a change to punishment for employers and explained that now employers cannot validate documents and went back to the triggers and chain migration features…and have to learn English… ( not exactly, only say they had attended classes?)
I cannot remember which (U.S.) Senator went back to EMTALA Law (emergency treatment law regardless of ability to pay or immigration status…1986) and said that it could be debated later, but that it wasn’t OK to let someone die in the emergency room and if we were going to debate whether it was OK to let someone die in an emergency room….BUT part of fines on illegals would go to impact of expenses to local govs.
(Through-out, The sales pitch atmosphere was palpable and unnerving from here…yuck)
John Douglas expressed concern for feds doing their job.
Chip Rogers asked question about back taxes and noted that Section 622 m ( page 317) language says that taxpayers would be responsible for paying legal fees ( page 317) for agricultural workers applying for and processing through system for legalization.
I THINK it was Isakson who again said that Z visa holders forfeit all Social Security payments made and that McCain had introduced a future amendment to require Z visas to pay back taxes ( it was taken out by White House originally)
Johnny Isakson did again say that if a Z visa holder quits job, Z visa expires and the holder would NOW be deported.
Saxby then came on and took the real question from Rogers: He said that was an old problem and then went on at length to discuss something that had zero to do with the actual question. Rogers again cited Section 622 m and restated question….Saxby went on again on another around the barn and NEVER acknowledged that the taxpayer DOES pay the legal expenses for Ag Jobs portion of bill for application and legal processing. (Lots of smoke here.) He was not even accurate on his answer to wrong question.
Saxby changed topic.
Isakson: “there is no wiggle room”. Under new law… “illegals can be deported”
CHIP PEARSON question/more of an observation LOTS OF PRESSURE HERE in my district……the senators restated points and again said that nothing happens unless borders are secure ….( this is not what most of us citizens read it)…illegals get probationary status and are removed from illegal status very soon after signed into law…and will be legal whether or not US Gov can run background check in 24 hours…they cannot)
Pearson state that “the message was not getting out there”. The US Senators explained that they were going to do “lots of media” and discuss “another touchback provision”..meaning a requirement that to get probationary status…illegals would have to leave USA.
A caller: ( missed his name) “My district has no confidence in fed gov”
Pearson…illegals will continue to come if triggers not fulfilled… BAD PR to be in photo with Kennedy. SAXBY: BELIEVE ME, IF WE HAD KNOWN THERE WOULD BE CAMERAS THERE “ it would not have turned out as it did…. !!!
More sales talk about it …”reminds me of one time I had my picture made with”….”who was later convicted/accused of?….????
Asked if there was any provision to eliminate birth right citizenship to the guest workers or Z Visa holders…..answer was long …”NO” …and back to felony charges for new illegals. ( we should have that now)
A caller whose name I missed asked about how bill would solve day labor workers problem and people hanging out on corners,,,SAXBY…”NO ID CARD…no work, eventually they will go home through attrition.”…and that “the daylabor problem will not be solved overnight”. ( he is taking our point on the entire problem…attrition through enforcement of current laws.)
Isakson comes on and compares new bill to last year’s….”THIS LAW IS A CHANCE TO SECURE OUR BORDER!
Isakson: “YOU DON’T HAVE A LAW AT PRESENT THAT REQUIRES THE PRESIDENT TO SECURE THE BORDER” THAT WILL HAPPEN BECAUSE OF THIS LAW!”
(Umm…I point to the constitution and the oath of office of all concerned article IV Section 4)
Ending….I missed at least one caller ( he asked about instate tuition to Z visa holders and was told it only applied to legal residents…..was a lot of smoke and I don’t think accurate) because I was e mailing back and forth to Justin Tomzack and telling him that Saxby was wrong on his answer to Rogers…he emailed me back to say I was correct…Saxby thought he was asked about H2B workers…we exchanged 3 e mails…he told me call was for state reps and senators only…I replied that I was on with a “trigger” …he replied that he was giving me amnesty by not cutting off my line…with a smiley face icon.
SAXBY: WE HAVE A WINDOW” to pass bill…”WE DON”T NEED LOCALS TO BE MAKING LAWS”…”We have cities and states are making their own immigration laws….” Not a good thing.
When asked about no confidence in Feds to secure borders, Saxby “WE AREN’T GOING TO CONTRACT WITH THE RUSSIANS”
JI: When asked why fence from last years law is not in place:”The fence is started …did you…photo “see me welding?” Said that there was 72 miles of fence so far built.. ( where?)
I emailed Chris Carr and expressed my amazement and disappointment that I had heard a US Senator say there was no law requiring the President to secure the border and pointed out the constitution and oath of office of all fed elected officials…and that there is a difference between spin and denial….
He called me with in a few minutes…home line, to ask who gave me codes and numbers.. I told him I was not a liberty to say, but that I would say there were more than one person…he assured me that of course the senator knows the president must secure the border and that it is involved the oath of office and constitution.
I told him there was such a thing as right and wrong ,,,he replied that I WAS WRONG FOR NOT DIVULGING NAMES OF WHO GAVE ME ACCESS…”If that’s the way you want to be D.A….” hung up. He seemed upset.