The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a rundown on how John Gard and other Republicans are leaning on illegal immigration as an issue going into the final weeks of what could be -- could be -- a disastrous election for the Repubs.
Indeed, Gard is lying in his campaign literature that Kagen supports amnesty -- though, of course, what he supports is a pathway to citizenship. As does John McCain, who, in another demonstration of his virtue, visited Wisconsin to stump for Gard. (Oddly, the writers of the piece couldn't find a way to work that into the story).
The story also fails to mention how Gard has taken money from an employer with a history of hiring illegal aliens.
From the JSOnline's 9/28 All Politics Watch:
Kagen accused Gard of supporting illegal immigration, through Gard's receipt of $3,500 in campaign donations over the past six years from the owner of a Green Bay meat processing plant raided by immigration officials a decade ago. The same charge was issued Wednesday by Democratic Party officials in Washington D.C.
Gard has said he was proud to have the donations from the meat plant owner, Carl Kuehne, and that Kuehne wasn't aware the 77 workers arrested at his plant may have been illegal immigrants.
From an 8/21/96 Wisconsin State Journal story on the situation:
Seventy-six suspected illegal aliens were rounded up Tuesday at the American Foods Group plant here, where they worked as meatpackers, officials said.
Roger Lindo of Milwaukee, agent in charge of the district Immigration and Naturalization Service office, said 68 men and eight women had been working with false papers.
"The majority are Mexicans," he said. "If they are willing to go voluntarily, they will be put on vans and taken to the southern U.S. border.
"If they are of other nationalities, they will be taken in custody to Chicago and arrangements made to take them to the country of their nationality. If they do not wish to leave voluntarily, they will be placed in deportation proceedings."
The move came less than two weeks after American Foods announced it would join a pilot program in conjunction with the immigration service. The program is designed to help employers verify immigrants' job eligibility.
The company's chief executive officer, Carl Kuehne, said he understood the INS was looking for forged birth certificates.
"The problem is in forged documentation," said American Foods spokesman Pat Krohlow. "If (papers) appear to be reasonably genuine and relate to the person offering them as identification, you have to accept them."
It is discriminatory to question an applicant further if his or her papers appear true and represent the bearer, he said.
"We value them as good employees," Kuehne said of those rounded up by the INS. "However, their eagerness to work in this country and earn good wages has apparently tempted them to obtain fraudulent documents."
The legalistic defenses of Kuehne and his flack strain credulity. The meatpacking industry for years has made a policy of employing illegal immigrants. Kuehne certainly would know this. Moreover, if he'd been doing business in Green Bay for any period of time he might have wondered why 7 percent of his workforce was from Mexico. It may be discriminatory to ask further questions, but as an upstanding member of the community he might have asked the feds if the region had any illegal immigration issues.
Kagen favors penalties for employers of illegal aliens, by the by.