The Minuteman Protection Program: Pols call for labor reform at event

October 14, 2008 @

Posted by: Admin on Tuesday, October 14, 2008 – 07:20 AM PST

Big business exploits illegal immigrants for cheap labor, rep. says. Assimilation is brought up during a panel discussion.

By Brianna Bailey
Los Angeles Times

U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher wouldn’t mind paying 50 cents more for hamburger if it guaranteed that the person taking his order at a restaurant isn’t an illegal immigrant, he said Saturday during a panel discussion on immigration at the Western Conservative Political Action Conference.

“How many people in these places are American citizens, I can’t tell you; but they don’t speak English very well,” Rohrabacher said at the sparsely attended discussion at the Newport Beach Radisson Hotel. “You go in to get a hamburger and get a burrito.”

Rohrabacher, who was accompanied on the panel by Orange Mayor Carolyn Cavecche and Minuteman Civil Defense Corps organizer Mike Schmid, railed against illegal immigration at the conference and called for government reform.

Rohrabacher accused big business of exploiting undocumented workers as cheap labor and Democrats of using illegal immigrants for political gain.

“The liberal left, especially the left wing of the Democratic Party, sees the flood of illegals into our country as potential political pawns,” Rorhabacher said.

The congressman has been an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration over the course of his political career. He proposed a failed bill in 2004 that would have withheld reimbursement of emergency room services to people who could not prove their immigration status.

Rohrabacher also opposed a Senate guest-worker proposal in 2006.

Rohrabacher called for social service programs to check the immigration status of the people they serve.

“By and large, the immigrants that are here are good people looking to better their lives,” Rohrabacher said. “But that might not necessarily benefit our lives.”

Immigration-reform activists at the conference Saturday spoke out against undocumented day laborers in their cities, whom they accused of harassing women and children and urinating in public.

“I started getting calls from people who said they have 30 men living next door to them who said ‘I cant allow my grandchildren to play in my front yard,’” Cavecche said. “They’re smoking in the front yard, urinating around the neighborhood. There’d be a living room with maybe 12 men living in it with sheets hung up.”

Orange officials enacted strict day laborer laws earlier this year meant to curb a growing stream of undocumented workers into their city, Cavecche said.

Speakers at the conference voiced frustration at a perceived unwillingness of immigrants to blend into American society.

“When the Italians came to America, they assimilated. When the Irish came to America, they assimilated,” said Gary Kreep, who moderated the panel discussion on immigration.

“It isn’t the language barrier; it’s the willingness to assimilate,” said Kreep, who serves as an attorney for the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.

“It’s not that hard to come here speaking only a little English and assimilate,” Kreep said.

Founded by Republican activist and attorney James Lacy, the Western Conservative Political Action Conference attracts conservatives from across the region each year to Newport Beach.

This year’s conference also included appearances by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and conservative radio talk-show host Michael Reagan.

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