Sen. John McCain’s new attention to, and possibly new position on, illegal immigration is being credited to a grass-roots program implemented by Phyllis Schlafly, who is training Eagle Forum leaders how to question presidential candidates on key national issues.
McCain has expressed surprise by the intensity of immigration questions he has received in Iowa at town hall meetings and as his campaign bus, named the “Straight Talk Express,” has toured the state.
It’s because of Eagle Forum’s work, Schlafly told WND.
“The town meetings that presidential candidates visit this year give grass-roots Americans the opportunity to ask follow-up questions so the candidates can’t evade and obfuscate their views on vital issues,” Schlafly said. “We want to know what presidential candidates plan to do about the problems we care about.”
Schlafly has published a detailed list of questions she is encouraging Eagle Forum leaders to ask presidential candidates as they tour primary states seeking votes.
Schlafly’s list includes 22 hard-hitting immigration questions designed to deny presidential candidates the luxury of hiding under answers crafted by political wordsmiths.
Among the questions are the following:
- Do you consider it a presidential duty to prevent illegal entry into our country?
- Will you use whatever means necessary to close our borders to illegal aliens and illegal drugs, including electronic fences and National Guard troops?
- Since most illegal drugs come across our southern border, will you require visual inspection of the contents of at least 50 percent of trucks coming across our border (instead of just 1 percent to 2 percent)?
- What is your plan to stop the entry of 85 percent of illegal drugs that come over our southern border?
- Will you pardon the two Border Patrol agents who stopped an illegal alien from bringing in a million dollars worth of illegal drugs, and now face 11- and 12-year sentences while the drug smuggler was given immunity from prosecution?
- Last year, the Senate passed the Secure Fence Act 80-19, the House passed it 283-138, and we saw President Bush on television signing it into law. Now we are told the fence will never be built. Do you intend to obey the Secure Fence Act and order a fence built on our southern border?
- Will you veto any plan to put illegal aliens on a path to citizenship without going home and getting in line for lawful immigration?
- Will you veto any plan to put illegal aliens into our Social Security system under the State Department plan called “totalization”? That would bankrupt the system just when baby boomers are retiring.
In the 109th Congress, McCain co-sponsored with Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass, S.2611, a “comprehensive immigration reform” bill supported by the Bush administration that included provisions calling for “guest workers” and a “pathway to citizenship.”
But after facing intensive questioning in Iowa about immigration issues, McCain is widely reported to be considering a change in his position, requiring illegal immigrants to return home before applying for citizenship, suggesting a compromise measure similar to that proposed by Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind.
“The national media were generally favorable to the Kennedy-McCain bill last year, as well as to McCain himself,” Schlafly explained to WND, “so before the Iowa meetings, McCain only had to respond to softball questions.”
Eagle Forum in Iowa made sure that situation for McCain changed.
“What McCain probably has not realized,” Schlafly told WND, “is that Eagle Forum has made sure that the grass roots are well informed about immigration and other issues. It may be a surprise to presidential candidates like McCain, but the Eagle Forum grass roots are not going to accept the typical politicians’ platitudes.”
WND asked Schlafly if she thought the questioning from Eagle Forum leaders was the reason McCain appears to have shifted his immigration position.
“Yes,” she responded, “because I doubt McCain has been asked these specific questions. The specific questions force the candidates to face up to the issues in a practical and meaningful way.”
“Schlafly also noted that Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., also was startled by the tough line of questioning he faced in Iowa about immigration. “After 30 minutes, Brownback pleaded for questions about something other than immigration,” Schlafly told WND.
In the 109th Congress, Brownback added his name as a co-sponsor to S.2611, the “comprehensive immigration reform” bill advanced in the Senate by Kennedy.
WND asked Schlafly if the Eagle Forum leaders intended to ask her question list to both Democratic and Republican candidates.
Of course, she said.
“All Republican and Democratic Party candidates for president should answer the Eagle Forum questions,” Schlafly told WND. “That’s why I published the list. We have a right to know what the candidates plan to do if elected.”
The Eagle Forum list of questions for presidential candidates includes a variety of policy issues besides immigration – including “supremacist judges legislating from the bench,” North American integration under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, jobs and the economy, as well as “respect for life.”
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