The 12th annual Hold Their Feet to the Fire rally in Washington, D.C., April 22-25, was a demonstration of the power of talk radio. Sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and San Diego radio talk-show host Roger Hedgecock, the event was designed to mobilize the public against amnesty for illegal aliens.
President Bush, however, did not want to listen to the message and followed this outpouring of public sentiment against amnesty for illegal aliens by hosting a White House event in honor of the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo.
Les Kinsolving of Baltimore’s WCBM asked deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino why there was no invitation to the hosts participating in the “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event to come to the White House for a meeting with Bush.
He said, “The President has more than once invited up to two dozen talk-radio hosts to broadcast from the White House. But now, while three dozen are broadcasting on Capitol Hill for three days on illegal immigration, we have received no such presidential invitation or even word of welcome. And my question, does the President wish we would all go home?”
Perino said, “I think you’re talking about apples and oranges, Les.”
Kinsolving’s follow-up question was: “If the President really feels as you contend he does, when will he visit us on Capitol Hill or invite us to the White House?"
Perino responded, “I didn’t know there had been an invitation. But we do talk-show radio day every once in a while. We’ll keep you in mind for the next one.”
While he snubbed the talk-radio hosts, Bush did give a commencement speech at Miami Dade College on April 28, telling the students that “we need a system that treats people with dignity and helps newcomers assimilate into our society.” He called for resolving the status “of those who are already here, without amnesty, and without animosity.”
Of course, as Accuracy in Media has already reported, the Bush plan does propose amnesty for illegals.
Bush also issued a proclamation and held a White House event celebrating the Mexican national holiday Cinco de Mayo.
At the Rose Garden event to celebrate the Mexican national holiday, Bush spoke Spanish and declared that “Comprehensive immigration reform is a vital goal for our nation, and it is a matter of deep conviction for me. I will continue to work closely with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to build a consensus for reform, so Congress can pass, and I can sign, a comprehensive immigration bill into law este ano.”
He concluded his remarks, saying, “I wish you a happy Cinco de Mayo. Que Dios los bendiga a las Estados Unidos y tambien Mexico.”
Ironically, a Cinco de Mayo festival in Virginia was canceled because organizers feared that federal authorities might arrest illegal aliens turning out for the event.
For the record, the following talk-radio hosts from around the country participated in the “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” campaign:
Roger Hedgecock KOGO-AM San Diego, CA
Jon and Ken KFI-AM Los Angles, CA
Helen Glover WHJJ-AM Providence, RI
Dan Rivers WKBN-AM Youngstown, OH
Martha Zoller WDUN-AM Atlanta, GA
Phil Valentine WWTN and Syndicated National
Dom Giordano WPHT-AM Philadelphia, PA
Jeff Katz WBT-AM Charlotte, NC
Marc Bernier WNDB-AM Orlando, FL
Victoria Taft KPAM-AM Portland, OR
Steve Clark WFBG-AM Altoona, PA
Bill LuMaye WPTF-AM Raleigh, NC
Les Kinsolving WCBM-AM Baltimore, MD
Dan Gaffney WGMD-FM Rehoboth Beach, DE
Bob Alexander WRTA-AM Altoona, PA
Lynn Woolley Syndicated Central Texas
Gary Sutton WSBA-AM York, PA
Steve Gill WLAC and Syndicated Tennessee
Peter Boyles KHOW-AM Denver, CO
Denys Schaefer KFTK-FM St. Louis, MO
Armstrong Williams WWRL-AM New York
Janet Parshall Salem Network Syndicated National
Jon David Wells KLIF-AM Dallas, TX
Randy Renshaw KSCJ-AM Sioux City, IA
Will Anderson WVNN AM/FM Huntsville, AL
Terry Anderson KRLA-AM Los Angeles, CA
Edd Hendee/Pat Gray KSEV-AM/KVCE-AM Houston/Dallas, TX
Howie Carr WRKO-AM and Syndicated Boston, MA
Joyce Kaufman WFTL-AM Miami, FL
Jan Mickelson WHO-AM Des Moines, IA
Steve Sommers WLW-AM Cincinnati, OH
Adam McManus KSLR-AM San Antonio, TX
Fred Flanagan WKRS-AM Waukegan, WI
Many of the biggest media markets in the U.S. were represented, including San Diego, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Miami. Sadly, some of the biggest names in conservative talk radio did not participate. In addition, radio stations from Virginia or Washington, D.C. did not send representatives, even though they had the shortest distance to travel.
The goal was to make politicians “feel the heat” and to tell the “new congressional leadership that there is strong and widespread opposition to any proposal that includes increases in guest workers, expansion of government-mandated immigration, and amnesty for illegal aliens.” Several members of Congress attended the event (all Republicans) and were interviewed by the radio talk-show hosts that gathered on Capitol Hill. They were:
To learn the immigration record of your Representative, and Senators, as well as the 2008 presidential candidates, visit the Americans for Immigration Reform website here. The Congressmen that did not attend may be able to ignore talk radio, but it will harder to ignore their constituents and voters. You can find your representative here, or call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.
A number of other important and distinguished guests did participate and discussed with the radio hosts how illegal immigration is wreaking havoc on America both along the border and in communities across the country. According to Bob Dane, Press Secretary/Communications Director for FAIR, the following also attended the rally:
Lou Barletta, mayor of Hazleton, PA
Pat Buchanan, author and columnist
Dan Stein, president of FAIR
Roy Beck, president of Numbers USA
TJ Bonner, president of National Border Patrol Council
Chris Burgard, director of “Border”
Monica Ramos and Patty Compean, wives of jailed border agents
Steve Camarota, spokesperson for Center for Immigration Studies
Peter Gadiel, 9-11 Families for a Secure America
Melanie Kortland, mother of daughter killed by an illegal alien
Dan Sheehy, author “Fighting Immigration Anarchy”
Al Rodriguez, chairman of You Don’t Speak for Me Hispanic Coalition
Ted Hayes, Choose Black America
The dates for the “Feet to the Fire” event were not picked by accident. One week later, on May 1, 2007, illegal aliens and their supporters once again marched through America’s streets demanding amnesty. At one such demonstration in Los Angeles, radical agitators attacked police, throwing rocks and bottles at them, provoking the officers to clear a park by wielding batons and firing rubber bullets. Incredibly, the Bush Justice Department has responded by launching an investigation by the FBI into whether the civil rights of the protesters were violated.
In response to the Bush campaign for amnesty for illegals, Numbers USA, one of the organizations that supported the “Feet to the Fire” rally, is offering Americans the opportunity to be part of a “Virtual Counter-March,” including a petition that says:
Dear President Bush,
On May 1, Illegal Aliens dishonored our country by demanding something they did not earn—U.S. citizenship.
Please use your influence to block all moves in Congress to reward lawbreakers with citizenship, welfare, and other benefits true Americans have fought and died for.
Amnesty is not a solution—it’s a SURRENDER!
To participate in the Virtual Counter-March and to tell President Bush that you are against his amnesty plan, visit here.
Time is running out, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he wants to begin debate on an immigration bill by May 14.