Sunday, April 22, 2007

Walberg Supports Liberian Refugees

A change of pace for today, folks. I have something good to say about Congressman Tim Walberg.

On April 19, 2007, Congressman Walberg (R-MI) introduced the "Liberian Refugee Immigration Protection Act of 2007," bipartisan legislation created with Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Keith Ellison (D-MN). The bill would allow refugees from Liberia currently in the United States as on Temporary Protected Status to apply for Permanent Residency status.

For those unfamiliar with the history, Liberia is a country on the west coast of Africa, founded in 1821 by former American slaves. It's capital, Monrovia, is even named for President James Monroe. In recent decades, Liberia has suffered through tragic, long-lasting civil wars, the subject of amazing documentaries and books. This is something Americans should be aware of, and tragically aren't.

This is a bill Congressman Kennedy has been introducing every year since 1998, and it has repeatedly been rejected by a Republican-controlled Congress. Perhaps a different majority will yield better results.

I'd like to thank Congressman Walberg for supporting this legislation. It's not a matter of left-wing versus right-wing, it's simply a matter of human compassion. Personally, I think the United States needs to take a much more active role in Africa, especially Liberia. But this bill is one step toward correcting many, many injustices.

This is the subject of Walberg's "Weekly Wrap-Up," which is actually worth reading, for a change.

The Liberian Refugee Immigration Protection Act of 2007 addresses an urgent situation faced by Liberian refugees who have legally come to America (many over a decade ago), established careers, bought homes, raised American-born children and become valued members of their communities.

Currently, all Liberian refugees living in the United States under Temporary Protective Status have until October of this year, and then they will be forced to return to Liberia.

My wife Sue and I have a unique personal story which led us to become involved in this issue.

For almost a year, we had a Liberian refugee stay in our home. This gentleman came from dire circumstances in Liberia, as his wife was brutally assaulted and he was beaten and forced to leave his country. He still has scars from when he was beaten with the blunt end of a rifle.

During the time our friend lived in our home, we developed an appreciation for his culture and were deeply moved by his commitment to his family and his homeland. He pursued higher education and worked several jobs so he could send financial assistance back to Liberia.
I'm certain that this is a fascinating story, and, frankly, I'd be more interested in learning more. I only wish Congressman Walberg could have a personal experience with representatives of other people in need-- including, perhaps, the millions of illegal immigrants in this country that, through a different set of circumstances, are working hard to support their families and enjoy the educational resources America has to offer. If Walberg got to know a few of them in the same way, perhaps he'd be more forgiving and open in his immigration policies.

But that's a different issue, and I'm straying from the point. Thank you, Congressman Walberg, for supporting a good, solid piece of legislation that should have been passed years ago.

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It is good that you can see (and say) something nice here but I have a basic distrust of Walberg and his motives.

I cannot imagine what Rep. Kennedy or Rep. Ellison would think about their newly formed alliance with our representative were they to read this quote from Walberg talking about the Middle East:

"I think in the near future, yeah, you are going to see somewhat of a squirrelly democracy. When you think also that it is Muslim, and their religious ethic is far different than from what we have established as Judeo Christian ethic. To think that Islam can even understand democracy is a stretch."

Tim Walberg believes his Christian upbringing is what gives him such a keen understanding of our system of government and people like Rep. Ellison have a flaw in their life which makes it hard for them to comprehend a concept like democracy.

Walberg is a religious bigot, he makes boneheaded, border-line racist comments about the most segregated parts of Michigan and Illinois, he is a purveyor of half-truths and innuendos, and he manipulates religion to serve his personal political ambitions.

No love here brother. I don't trust him. Rep. Ellison should never turn his back on Walberg. Rep. Kennedy should check some press clippings and see how often Walberg invokes that Kennedy name to whip up his fringe of support (and sling mud at people like Joe Schwarz--on an immigration bill no less).

Nope, I cannot do it. I also disagree with him on the bill. Congress should extend the temporary protected status and not offer any permanent status. Anything more than simply continuing their existing status is defacto amnesty, and if the Minutemen come back here and drag someone who is even crazier that Walberg out of the woodwork to "represent" us, I'd surely need to move out of Michigan, away from the home that I love.

No sir, we need to fight Walberg every step of the way. No rest for the wicked, no atta-boys. Keep a keen eye on the Trickster from Tipton and never let your guard down. He is versed in the dark arts of deception and he is a marksmen of mud. His tactics know no depths and the ends always justifies the dubious means. The only things we should respect of Tim Walberg are his cunning and his ambition.
On the surface, Walberg appears to be a person of great depth...but deep down he's pretty shallow!

The charade will be over in 08!
WOW! Walberg working with a Kennedy! I guess you do have to give credit where credit is due. Looking up last years bill, it didn't have one Republican on it (

Maybe, this is what it needs to get it to move. Maybe he'll actually try to work to get some good things done. Will be interesting to see if he's able to bring on a few Republicans onto the bill (would show some leadership on his part), but I won't be holding my breath... However, bravo Mr. Walberg for being a lead on this bill. I'm not sure how the first commenter could possibly construe this as amnesty, they came here legally.
April 22, 2007 12:39 PM Anonymous:

First, I'm curious what your source is on that quote. I know that Walberg has said some pretty awful stuff before, but that quote is new to me.

Second, I just want to make sure it's clear, I don't intend to let up on Walberg. He's absolutely wrong for the district, and I won't rest until there's a Democrat in office. That said, it would be wrong of me to not commend the man when he does something right. I'm a proud, partisan Democrat, but I can admit that sometimes, even the most conservative, bigoted Republicans can do something right. You can't become so blinded by the "us versus them" attitude that you lose sight of common interests and goals.

Hell, if Walberg wants to go ahead and keep doing things that I agree with, it'd be great. I'd vote for him in 2008 (the first Republican I would ever vote for), and shut down this blog-- or change it over to a blog to praise him. (Congressman, if you're reading, a great place to start would be a tax increase to pay for your war in Iraq, or, better yet, a troop pullout. Then, call for an expansion of Medicare to cover all Americans, and call for a clear change in political rhetoric to reflect what the founders intended, a separation of church and state.)

Now, that's not gonna happen. But all I'm saying is, when someone does something right, no matter how wrong they are on everything else, you've got to recognize it.

I distrust Walberg and his motives, too, but this time, for whatever reason he has, I think he's doing something right. Call it de facto amnesty if you want (which, by the way, is something I, personally, support), but it will help innocent people just trying to live their lives.

I'm disgusted by Walberg and almost all of the things he's said. But this time-- this one, single time-- I'm not.
The crazy quote is from the Brooklyn Exponent. Walberg said it. I have not seen him interviewed in that paper since, so maybe his staff blackballed that paper too... I will check to see if I can find the date on the article, but I think it was early July.

Second thing, I meant the "de facto amnesty" thing as a compliment to both Liberians and Mexicans. Er, wait, no, someone beat me to that line of BS already... No, seriously. C'mon, like I really think the Minutemen could dig up someone who is a bigger freak than our current Congressman.

The bill sounds fine on its face, but I need to do some more digging to understand the history and the impact of the situation. I know the home districts of both Ellison and Kennendy by way of vacations. Having spent a few days in both areas, I found the presence of a large population of Liberians hard to ignore. I was very interested in the story of civil war and disrupted families.

I read through the bill, and it sure does seem like some amnesty is granted. There are provisions to stay deportation orders and other wording which I think means we are bending some rules for them. Now, if it makes sense, is practical, efficient or compassionate, then maybe it is a good bill. But Walberg's message is not consistent. Why bend some rules for Liberians while refusing to bend rules for Mexicans?

Say it with me, "Timing." Not to be confusing with "Timming," which is defined in Webster's as "the consistent bungling of every situation" or "to imitate a buffoon while actually being a jerk."

I actually do applaud Fitzy for saying nice things. I just have a hard time seeing any good in what Walberg does. Walberg inspires me to dig a little deeper in search of the truth.
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