RICHMOND, Va. — A small, yet loud contingent of conservative activists joined Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on Monday evening for a rally here in an effort to halt ongoing efforts in Washington, D.C., to grant America’s at least 11 million illegal aliens amnesty.
The crowd, an estimated 60 or so local activists at its highest point, listened to King, NumbersUSA executive director Roy Beck, Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA) founder Leah Durant, Remembrance Project director Maria Espinoza, former Reagan Justice Department official Tea Party Patriots’ George Rodriguez and many others on the issue. The small crowd size elicited some jokes from the various speakers about how it is difficult to get activists out of their normal setting of making phone calls and working from behind their computers, and about the much-worse-than-usual traffic on I-95 on Monday. Behind the scenes at the event many of those involved in its organization expressed their hope that the media present–Breitbart News and a handful of mainstream media reporters–would note that if the grassroots wants to defeat amnesty efforts in Congress, activists need to show up at town halls with their members of Congress and at events like this.
Tea Party Patriots national co-founder Jenny Beth Martin told Breitbart News after the event that the small turnout seems to be a result of efforts by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte to make what they are doing sound more appealing than it is. The rally was held in Cantor’s political home base territory, just outside his district in Richmond. “Cantor and Goodlatte use reasonable sounding language to convince their voters there is no choice but to do accept they a plan which will lead to the ultimate passage of the Senate Amnesty Bill from a conference committee,” Martin said in an email. “Even Sen. Reid has said, ‘if we go to conference, we win.'”
“The constituents in VA must be wary of what Cantor and Goodlatte are pushing and must not drink the Cantor-Goodlatte Kool-Aid,” Martin added. “Otherwise, we will see Sen. Reid’s plan come to fruition.”
The event here in Richmond was the first in a series of five the coalition of NumbersUSA, Eagle Forum, Tea Party Patriots, Remembrance Project and others have planned throughout the August congressional recess. The next stop on the so-called “Stop Amnesty Tour” is in Harrisburg, PA, next Monday. Future events, for which details have not been finalized, are scheduled to take place in Ohio, Texas and South Carolina. According to a couple of the organizers at the Richmond event, there is some optimism for a bigger crowd and impact with the upcoming Harrisburg, PA, event next week because two local congressmen, Reps. Lou Barletta (R-PA) and Scott Perry (R-PA), both of whom oppose amnesty efforts, are rumored to be throwing their weight behind that Stop Amnesty Tour stop.
“All of us and many more organizations have been mobilizing our members throughout this month to show up at actual town hall meetings with members of Congress,” Beck, who emceed Monday’s Richmond rally, said to open up the event. “And, also, what is it? They say about 60 percent of members of Congress don’t hold town hall meetings. So we’ve been mobilizing those people to go to those members’ of Congress offices. This is the most important work that citizens do: Get there so you are in the presence of the member of Congress or their staff.”
Beck added that the purpose of the Stop Amnesty Tour is to be a “stand-in” for members of Congress who do not hold town halls. “We never had the thought that this is something that would make members of Congress shake in their boots as we got together here on the top of the hill overlooking Richmond,” he said. “But it was a stand-in so we could kind of remind ourselves what the issues are, first of all, and we can get that word out.”
Organizers soldiered through the full program regardless, and put together against amnesty from all different directions.
“Why not just go ahead and tell the truth?” Rep. King asked at one point, as if he were rhetorically speaking to politicians in Washington. “The truth is if you look at the data and speaking of people who come generally out of the south of the United States, we know people who are good entrepreneurs, good family members, good church-goers. Yes, they make good citizens for America. They can start businesses and take care of their family and they dress their kids for church better than we dress our kids for church. That all makes me happy. But, when I look at the data, I find out, they really aren’t statistically pro-life, they really aren’t statistically pro-marriage, they aren’t statistically for the free enterprise system that calls for less taxes and less government. They want more government and more services. That data is all out there. So, what do you think they turn into? People that empower the Democrat power-brokers is what they turn into if you give them a chance to vote. That means the beneficiaries are Democrat power-brokers, the elitists and the third one are employers of illegal labor. If you have knowingly and willfully employed illegal labor, you get amnesty too under the Gang of Eight’s bill.”