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Digger Sits On Panel, Grills NJ Congressional Candidates On Immigration [Video] [Update 2]

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I only mentioned to a couple people that I would be sitting on a panel questioning all of the congressional candidates in the 2nd district of NJ on immigration last night. A brave lot, since most candidates run from immigration questions.

Press of Atlantic City Photo

Well I did and here is the story...

Leaving at 4PM, it was a long 2 hour drive to Vineland, NJ to the Chestnut Assembly of God. Ruth of Illegal Protest was with me and brought along the camera. The weather was fine on the way down there. For this event, where I'm not out rallying, I donned a suit. Not my favorite attire, but appropriate for the occasion.

Now this event was being moderated by the League of Women Voters. Not my favorite organization after having dealt with them in California, but the church did so because they felt that they added "credibility" to the event. This was the first event held by the church and the organizer Elaine Ball did a fantastic job with getting all of the candidates together and the panelists.

This event was supposed to be broadcast live on LIFT FM (98.5 Bridgeton, 97.9 Cape May/Wildwood), but I guess they had technical difficulties and just taped it instead and will broadcast it Thursday night at 8PM (as if anyone will actually be listening to it with the Palin/Biden debate on).

Their website is here: Lift FM

I doubt there will be an archive of it because I don't see any archives on their site. I guess I can try to capture it, but really there is inexperience and incompetence going on surrounding the coverage of this event.

There were a few things I felt awkward about with this event. First, I had to submit my questions in advance to the moderators for "review". The moderators being the League of Women Voters I was fully expecting my questions to be rejected outright because they have a bias. However my questions were not rejected or asked to be modified, so I have to give the League a hat tip.

Secondly, I was very, very disappointed that when I arrived there I was instructed as we started setting up the tripod that there would be no video allowed except by official media. Actually I wasn't just disappointed I was angry for a few minutes because being a blogger that is one of the reasons I even agreed to be a panelist. To bring the truth "in whole" back to the people. What is the point in doing an event when you cannot show the results? On top of this they would not allow any still pictures either. Pretty pointless to even have the event in my opinion.

Either way I managed to get interviews of two candidates after the event on video and those are below.

I had a little conference with the candidates and the moderator prior to the start just explaining the format, for the candidates, 90 seconds to respond, 2 minute opening statements etc.... In that meeting the moderator said that the last event they had the media show up and they were expecting them to broadcast the whole thing and all they did was use 2 minute clips for the news.... whereas I was going to put the whole thing from beginning to end up on the web so it would remain forever I thought to myself. Don't get me wrong, I don't think I'm a pro-media organization, I just wanted to put the whole unedited thing up so people could see for themselves without editing by a media organization.

OK, so the event started. Introductions were made.

In attendance were the following candidates:

Peter Boyce (Constitution Party)

Jason Grover (Green Party)

David Kurkowski (Democrat Party)

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (Republican Party)

Independent Gary Stein (Rock The Boat)

Constantino Rozzo (Socialist Party) was a no show.

I of course have NO PICTURES because still photography was not allowed. Who came up with that brilliant campaign idea? "we don't want any media"

The three panelists were:

Myself of course, Sue Smith of Cornerstone Women's Resource Center and Aven Warren from Woodruff Energy. Now I am not going to detail the questions of the other panelists because I do not have video or audio. Suffice it to say that Sue's questions focused on Pro-life, such as "when does life begin?" and Aven's questions focused on energy, such as "should government pay for oil for the elderly and poor" (I will note here that Aven is a 20 year vet in residential heating and his questions seemed to be almost lobbying for taxpayer monies for the company he represented through subsidies).

As soon as I sat down at the panel table a reporter from a Hispanic news service, I'm not sure which as I asked him twice and I couldn't quite understand him, was in my face taking many pictures. He seemed to be focusing exclusively on me, so apparently the word got out that one of the panelists would be there talking/asking about immigration. I had tried to keep it quiet (i.e. no announcement post etc) specifically because I wanted to not have pro-illegal groups have the chance to try to get me kicked off the panel before the event occurred.

OK, I had the first question, here it is.


As we all know we allow immigration into this country in order to benefit the United States.

We also have immigration laws and limits so that those already in this country, American citizens and legal residents, do not have their wages and standard of living adversely impacted and so that our infrastructure, hospitals, schools and other services are not overburdened.

These laws are also in place to ensure that those coming to the United States do not have criminal pasts, carry dangerous diseases or pose a threat to our communities and national security.

Illegal aliens bypass all of these checks and balances without the benefits of the United States in mind, but for their own benefit.

So my question to you is this:

As a representative for the district would you sponsor, co-sponsor or vote in favor of ANY bill that included a pathway to citizenship or amnesty for illegal aliens?


I have to stop here and say that throughout the night the most applause came either after I asked one of my questions or after a candidate answered it and was against amnesty and illegal immigration or for enforcing the law. No other topic got that much applause. Not even candidates who opposed the recent bailout. This was THE issue people cared about most.

OK the responses...

Peter Boyce (Constitution Party):
Boyce went into an impressive speech on immigration and I was floored. His views were almost 100% in align with mine. I did not expect that from any candidate. He also spoke authoritatively and with passion. You can see his response to this in my interview of him below.

Jason Grover (Green Party):
Grover's position was that if they make it here they should stay, after all they're poor. So amnesty. I will note that Grover comes across as a caring young man, but his world experience seems to be lacking. He is quite intelligent though.

David Kurkowski (Democrat Party):
Typical Democrat talking points. Pro-amnesty, we need to save everyone in the world by letting them come here so we can be seen as nice cuddly people.

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (Republican Party):
LoBiondo pretty much said "No amnesty, now or in the future, it rewards bad behavior" and left it at that. LoBiondo's record backs him up. He has an excellent record on dealing with illegal immigration. A career B- at CongressGrades.org and an A- for recent actions. It should be noted the B- comes from several votes early in his career in 1996, otherwise he'd have A's. He also responds to this question in the interview video below.

Independent Gary Stein (Rock The Boat)
Stein had a strange response. He claims that he has a solution on his website. That we can leverage dealing with Mexico by using amnesty as a bargaining chip for other things. I don't see it.


OK other panelists ask their first question, it comes back to me.

Second question:


We have a real problem with unscrupulous businesses in this country using cheap illegal alien labor as an unfair competitive business advantage. One of the best solutions businesses have to ensure that they are hiring a legal workforce is the E-Verify program. Recently that program has been extended for only a period of 6 months and needs to be re-authorized in the coming year.

This question pertains to both of the issues just mentioned.

Do you support the prosecution and mandatory incarceration for business owners who use the unfair competitive business practice of hiring illegal aliens? And also do you support the re-authorization of E-verify – and a bill that would make it mandatory for all businesses in the United States to use E-Verify?


Peter Boyce (Constitution Party)
I'll let Boyce speak for himself. See the interview video below.

Jason Grover (Green Party)
Still sticks by pro illegal stance and that businesses should not have to be inconvenienced if they are given a SSN card they should assume it is not a fraud.

David Kurkowski (Democrat Party)
Toes the party line... I don't believe he even answered the E-Verify portion.

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (Republican Party)
See the interview below. would re-up E-verify... has more to say on business owners in the video.

Independent Gary Stein (Rock The Boat)
Strange response once again referring back to his plan at his website. This plan seems to be helping the Mexican people stand up, but he also seems to think that the drug cartels are easy to defeat and that town people can just tell them to get out and they'll leave. He is for a big fence along the border though.


Second round goes to the other panelists. Instead of allowing panelists to continue with a third question the moderator chose to just randomly pick people out of the audience. Looking back on it now this was a bad choice because almost all of the questions were poorly put together. Some didn't make sense or were based on something they heard from somebody. Of course the wall street bailout came up. One person did ask a good question about whether they supported free trade. I believe it was the very first question after the panelists.

And that was it. I did the interviews below. I specifically focused on Boyce and LoBiondo because they have views of interest to myself and my readers. Also LoBiondo is probably going to win handily in this district and I wanted to get him on video stating his stances. Boyce is just an interesting man with passion and relates everything to the constitution. I like that.

Besides two of the other three candidate's views were quite clear, amnesty, no border, no fence, etc... and the third, Stein, has something that would take more than a few minutes to discuss. I actually talked to him on the way out and I still couldn't understand what he was talking about and he kept on saying to just go read his site.

On the way home, around 9, we stopped at one of the only places opened... Denny's. I had a big old Belgian waffle. It was good. Ruth had an omelet. See you wouldn't learn what one of the panelists ate after the event from the "Official Media" now would you...

It rained hard all the way home and I had fun hydroplaning at points. Got home around 11:15PM and am still beat..

All in all the event was a success, the documenting of it almost non-existent due to asinine restrictions - as for the time invested by myself... well overall I felt that I probably would not agree to be a panelist and drive that far again if I cannot also bring back unedited video from start to finish and pictures. It was however good to get these interview videos and hold the candidates to account.

Peter Boyce Interviewed by Dan Amato

Frank LoBiondo Interviewed by Dan Amato


A little blurb in the press of Atlantic City, which chose to focus more on attacks on the incumbent (can you say agenda against LoBiando) than on the issues at hand...

The debate focused mostly on illegal immigration, abortion issues and energy costs, largely because of the choice of panelists ... Dan Amato, is an online columnist and sharp critic of illegal immigration....

When asked directly if they would allow amnesty or paths to citizenship for illegal immigrants, LoBiondo and Boyce said they would not. Grover said he would. Kurkowski and Stein each drifted to other aspects of immigration enforcement, rather than directly answering the question, but both stressed the need for strong enforcement of the nation's borders.

More if I find it...

Update 2
NJ.com focuses on the R and D candidates solely.

On immigration, LoBiondo said he opposes amnesty.

Kurkowski said a special license should be issued to illegal immigrants and that they should be fingerprinted in order to be identified by the government, but the federal government should not pursue a policy that separates children from their parents.

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Posted by Digger on October 1, 2008 02:17 AM (Permalink)

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"the federal government should not pursue a policy that separates children from their parents" ...

Then I guess he should start lobbying all those sanctuary cities for pursuing policies that lure illegal aliens into their cities ... and too many of those illegal aliens leave behind the children they have in their home countries!! That's separating families too!

Now before anyone says I'm "racist" I want to point out my concern for the children who are IN Mexico with no parents, because they're parents abandoned them. That's illegal in the US too, to abandon your children and disappear. Who's crying out for THEIR justice?

Posted by: SeaTurtle on October 1, 2008 07:48 AM

Well said SeaTurtle! You took the words right out of my mouth!

The one newspaper also stated that not much was discussed about the $700 billion bailout and I beg to differ. It was not a panelist question but the subject came up many times during the event and I feel that I know how most of them feel about it. And afterwards, when the candidates were talking to citizens there was much discussion of this topic.

What the paper failed to note is - that the panelists and the event was setup WEEKS in advance - well before the "Federal bailout" was even on the radar. The moderator from the League of Women Voters would have been wise to address the candidates with this question himself instead of turning the questioning over to the audience and then trying to harangue with them about what their question would be etc... I am pretty sure he would have had the support of the audience to ask that question on their behalf. He was overly concerned with people asking similar questions in my opinion.. perhaps they ask the questions again because they are not fully answered by all of the candidates??? In my opinion, he was trying to sanitize the voice of the people and make a more interesting event rather than a more USEFUL event.

My feeling is - both Republican and Democratic candidates are just MORE OF THE SAME and I would love to see lots of small towns around this country send someone different to Washington for a change instead of the same old Republican or Democrat. What a refreshing amount of HOPE and CHANGE that would be indeed!

Posted by: Ruthiness on October 1, 2008 02:46 PM

Did you know that INS rountinely deports fathers only, leaving the women and children in our country?

Why, what a surprise, soon the deported father pops back up in our country! Deport the whole family.

And I oppose US taxpayers paying for deportation. Tell the intruder he faces prison but provisions will be made for him to pay his own way out for a given time. He was resourceful enough to get here, he can find a way out. If he's found in our country again send his ass to jail.

Posted by: ken pope on October 3, 2008 08:48 PM

Also see these other great immigration resources

The Dark Side Of Illegal Immigration
The Dark Side Of Illegal Immigration

A 28 part detailed report on the negative impacts of illegal immigration.
Immigration Stance
Immigration Stance

Find out how your members of Congress voted on immigration issues.

The Dark Side Of Illegal Immigration
Read the free 28 part report The Dark Side of
Illegal Immigration

Includes facts, figures
and statistics.

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