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That Cannon Caper: The Moral
The immigration reform movement is like Willie Pep, the great featherweight champion of the 1950s.
If you watched the Gillette Friday Night Fights decades ago, you may remember that Pep's defensive skills were so honed that he could win rounds without ever landing a punch. Similarly, in the last few months, the immigration reform movement has absorbed an unusually furious flurry of body blows—and foul blows—from the Treason Lobby. And here we are, still standing, thank you very much.
We withstood the haymaker of President George Bush's amnesty proposal. We blocked all the familiar and tedious jabs of racism and xenophobia brought by the Sierra Club, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Carl Pope, Morris Dees and Utah's U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon.
And while we were fending off the bad guys, we continued to slug it out on the federal and state level with our vigorous and on-going challenges to driver's licenses for illegal aliens, the matricula consular card, in-state tuition and guest worker programs.
We're experienced and tough. We can withstand whatever the other side throws at us.
But as successful as our defensive stance is, we need to be on the offensive.
I don't know about you but I want to stop spending so much time debating whether or not VDARE.COM is an "anti-immigrant" site or whether U.S. Foundation's John Tanton is the "puppeteer"—whatever that is supposed to mean—and start talking about the consequences of uncontrolled immigration.
No sidebar discussions allowed!
The beauty of being on the attack is that the facts—which we have on our side—are compelling.
So even if we can't get our targets to actually answer our questions (wouldn't that be refreshing?) we can make them look particularly foolish.
Take, for example, ProjectUSA's direct and to-the-point style. Executive Director Craig Nelsen placed billboards throughout US Rep. Cannon's 3rd Congressional District in Utah. The billboards ask a simple question: "Congressman Chris Cannon wants amnesty for illegal aliens. Do you?"
Naturally, Cannon was unwilling to admit that the AgJOBS bills that he supports could mean amnesty for as many as 3 million aliens. And Cannon started swinging wildly with the predictable unfounded charges including a slur that ProjectUSA "does the bidding" of John Tanton's "anti-immigration groups." [The Salt Lake Tribune -- Cannon grills anti-immigration witnesses, by Christopher Smith, March 25, 2004]
But as the pressure on Cannon generated by the ProjectUSA billboards mounted, the Utah Congressman cracked.
At a House Judiciary Immigration, Border Security and Claims Subcommittee meeting on March 24th, Cannon created a huge dust-up. Among those testifying for our side were Center for Immigration Studies Executive Director Mark Krikorian: (Read his testimony "Flawed Assumptions Underlying Guest Worker Programs"), Diversity Alliance for a Sustainable America Chairman Dr. Frank Morris (Read his testimony) and NumbersUSA Education and Research Foundation Executive Director Roy Beck (Read his testimony: "Occupation Collapse and Poverty Wages").
As Beck recreated the scene:
"Rep. Cannon—through a very strange set of circumstances -- wrested control of the chairman's seat while all the other Members went to vote and managed to interrogate myself, Mark Krikorian and Frank Morris), former director of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and candidate for the Sierra Club Board.
"Mr. Cannon asked Joe McCarthy types of questions of us for 45 minutes -- having to do with who we know in the immigration-reduction movement, how long we've known them, how intimate we are with them, connections of groups, with whom we've had lunch and where we get our funding." (Download the committee meeting web cast here.)
Krikorian, on Barbara Jane Whitley's Salt Lake City-based "Born On The Fourth Of July" radio show, added that he was "taken aback and shocked that such tactics were used in Congress."
(So much for all of Mark's triangulating against VDARE.COM!)
In a post-hearing interview with the Salt Lake City Tribune, Cannon flailed on by charging that some immigration reform groups are fronts for: "an 'anti-life' agenda of free on-demand abortion, sterilization of low-income people and euthanasia of the elderly."
And the now-totally-punch-drunk Cannon repeated his views—and added a couple of ugly new twists-- to the Deseret Morning News by stating that reform groups promote,
"zero population, sterilization, abortion, eugenics and euthanasia. Most Utahns can't stand the ideas that are moved forward by this coherent group of organizations that in one facet are anti-immigrant. They are anti-immigrant because they don't like Mexicans coming here and having big families with babies that don't die, that grow up and participate in our society."
Cannon faces a primary challenge from an immigration reform candidate, former Utah State Representative Matt Throckmorton. Maybe he's scared.
And Cannon's problem is that no matter how many foul blows he slings, his guest worker program is a loser. As I noted earlier, facts are compelling. Subcommittee Chairman John N. Rep. Hostettler in his opening remarks reminded the witnesses that:
"From 2000 to 2003, the number of employed native-born workers dropped by 769,000 while the number of employed foreign-born workers increased by 1,679,000. American workers it seems bore the brunt of the recession."
In the meantime, the confused and desperate Cannon even gave out his personal cell phone number (801- 362-8300), and encouraged people to call him. Immigration reform activist Frosty Wooldridge actually got Cannon on the phone. He writes:
"To his credit, he listened when I asked how come we have 13 million illegal aliens in this country? What about 'carrying capacity' being overwhelmed by importing the Third World into our country and creating an added 200 million people? What about species extinction? What about standard of living and quality of life being denigrated as hordes of illegals crossed over our borders? What about the 16,000 cases of MDR tuberculosis and 7,000 new cases of leprosy brought into the USA in the past four years by illegals that avoided health screenings at our borders? What about stolen jobs and lost wages? What about the lack of water when Colorado adds five million and California adds 20 million via immigration? Mr. Cannon, what about the rule-of-law illegals break?
"This writer was not prepared for the astounding if not amazing lack of comprehension of Cannon's answers. I can say unequivocally that Representative Chris Cannon of Utah lacks the basic common sense and mental acuity of a bucket of water.
"He said that America could add millions of people, which will create even more wealth. He felt the Mexican illegal immigrants were providing greater opportunities for all Americans. He noted they had added $30 billion to US coffers from their work last year. I responded they cost US taxpayers $90 billion in our taxes to pay for their use of our schools, ESL and medical services. I noted that 1/3 to ½ of them work under the table. He didn't hear me. "He went on to say that Africa was underpopulated. They needed more population. He further said: 'Look at France. They are underpopulated. They are being taken over by Muslims because France has a stable population, but immigration will make them a Muslim state in 50 years.'
"I asked him what the French thought of their country speaking Arabic and becoming a Muslim state? Did that mean France would no longer be French? That France would be the new Iraq?
"He didn't have an answer. He felt that God would take care of America no matter what our population."
[When Representatives of Congress Don't Represent Americans. April 1, 2004]
If the Cannon caper is any indication of what happens when the immigration reform movement goes on the offensive, it sure is a lot more fun.
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.