Last week, President Obama announced that he would halt the deportation of over 800,000 illegal immigrants and, instead, grant them work permits and, eventually, a path to citizenship. I would like to say I was surprised but it is just another example of his disregard for the Constitutional limits of executive power.
In similar political pandering, the President has refused to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, which is supposed to bar the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and used executive prerogative to force employers to provide contraceptives to their workers regardless of their moral stance on the issue. This time, the President one-upped himself and blatantly sidestepped Congress by enacting amnesty without legislative approval. It's difficult not to see this as anything other than an election year ploy to secure a key voting block and reinvigorate an electorate disillusioned with this President's brand of "Hope and Change."
Until last week, the President maintained that he couldn't unilaterally act on immigration issues without Congress. A tough re-election campaign and sagging poll numbers must have changed his mind. The elected representatives of the American people have spoken on this issue by not approving the DREAM Act and, on three separate occasions, actually rejected granting work permits and amnesty to illegal immigrants.
We should welcome immigrants who obey the law and enter our state and country legally. Many legal immigrants are hard-working, law-abiding citizens who pay taxes and own businesses. However, those who come to the U.S. and Missouri illegally depress the wages available to hard-working Missourians for jobs that used to come with a living wage.
I do not buy the argument that illegals are simply doing jobs Missourians won't do. Rather, they are doing these jobs for wages that cannot support taxpaying Missouri families. Many states across the country have seen more and more of their budgets dedicated to providing services for illegal immigrants. Taxpaying citizens are being forced to subsidize illegal activity by a federal government and administration that refuses to enforce the law and defend our borders.
Some frustrated states like Arizona and Missouri, have seen fit to enact legislation that protects our citizens, defends taxpayers, and upholds the rule of law. In 2008, my colleagues and I in the Missouri legislature passed a bill that denied taxpayer-funded benefits to illegal immigrants, disallowed the employment of illegal immigrants, required employers who had state contracts to use E-Verify or a similar database, required law enforcement officers to verify citizenship of a person charged with a crime and held in confinement, provided judges the ability to deny bail on reasonable suspicion of a person being an illegal alien, prohibited cities from creating sanctuary policies, required the Missouri Department of Revenue to check the legal status of immigrants before issuing driver's licenses and required harsher punishment for those convicted of trafficking illegal immigrants.
If I am elected to the Missouri Senate, one of my top priorities will be to protect our state's citizens and challenge our federal government to do its job, enforce the law, and defend our borders.
for State Senator of
Missouri's 29th District
I am writing this letter to the editor so that readers may know if they voted for Billy Long for Congressman, I think they made the right choice.
In April of 2011, I received an unfair and undeserved fine from the United States Department of Agriculture APHIS Division. I am a small business owner in southwest Missouri and have been in business since 1988. I have an auction company with nine employees. I pay my taxes on time, I have never been charged with a crime, and I have never received a fine for my business practices. I hadn't received so much as a speeding ticket in over 25 years.
I am a USDA licensed auctioneer that sells USDA regulated animals, therefore I am inspected by a USDA inspector on a regular basis. We are inspected for care and conditions of animals in our auctions as well as paperwork for record keeping purposes.
After a 2007 auction, we were inspected and passed with no violation for animal care, however, they questioned some of our record keeping. Two years later, an investigator came and re-inspected the same records of the same sale. Never before since 1988 had our record keeping been questioned, but after all the excitement generated around Proposition "B," which was felt by many as an attack of farmers and dog kennels, USDA had decided to toughen up their inspections.
Then in April of 2011, I received a paperwork fine for $56,000. Now keep in mind even if they were correct, which they were not, this even by USDA standards is an indirect violation; meaning it didn't place any animals in harm, it was only record keeping. Not only did they want $56,000, they threatened that if it was not paid in one month, the fine would be much higher if I went to court. The $56,000 was what they called "a reduced settlement." I called it bankruptcy for my business and unemployment for all my employees.
I immediately contacted my attorney Judd Poppen from Neale and Newman in Springfield. Judd started right away contacting USDA about this matter. We asked for our file from the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) office, and they would not release it. They said it was because it was being used in an investigation. So, they had all the information and we had nothing. Mr. Poppen, after many hours of work, phone calls and letter writing suggested that we contact Congressman Billy Long's office to see if he could help in this matter.
I was told by many people that this effort was useless as no politician would really care or take a stand on my behalf against the government. They were wrong. Congressman Long's office requested all the information that I had on hand and reviewed it. They also requested all of the information that USDA had concerning the alleged violation.
I received phone calls, emails and updates from Congressman Long's office on a weekly basis. I spoke personally with Congressman Long on a number of occasions. He assured me that it would get resolved, and that he did not believe it should be the intent of the government to put small businesses out of business nor put the employees in the unemployment line.
When I or my attorney were not talking to Congressman Long, we were in constant correspondence with a staff member from Congressman Long's office.
After many months of back and forth with USDA, Congressman Long felt this had gone on long enough and called for a meeting in Washington with the directors of USDA. He explained that he thought the levied fine was ridiculous and asked for a more reasonable solution.
After this meeting; USDA was receptive to a much reduced fine with no admittance of guilt on my part. I agreed to the terms as lawyer bills were growing and time away from my business was taking its toll.
The matter has now been resolved through the efforts of Congressman Long, his staff and Judd Poppen of Neale and Newman. I would like to thank you all for your hard work and concern on my behalf. I really do appreciate all you did for me and my business.
Southwest Auction Service