25th District CA Congressman Knight faces happy and unhappy Constituents (opposed to amnesty).

By George Miller

Two different events with two different objectives collided Friday night on Los Angeles Avenue in Simi Valley, the south end of the 25th Congressional District. Congressman Steve Knight (R, Palmdale) threw an open house/party for his constituents, celebrating his new Simi Valley office with a ribbon–cutting, speeches by local dignitaries, one-on-one one conversations with constituents, a table full of food — and a protest by anti-amnesty activists who say Knight sold them out on amnesty after promising to help them. Knight claimed that he didn’t vote for amnesty and never supported it. However, the group provided us with an undated Immigration Letter to California Republican Congressional delegates he signed which they say indicates otherwise.

KnightAmnestyCollage

(Counterclockwise from top): CD-25 Congressman Steve Knight faces off with anti-amnesty activists; Knight cuts ribbon for new Simi office opening; Ribbon receives constituent comments; 2 dozen protesters of amnesty, which they say he supported. 4-17-15. (Photos: CitizensJournal.us)

While the ribbon cutting and festivities were very nice, the protest also included a couple of signs advocating impeachment of Obama and protesting the “Trans-Pacific Partnership” (TPP)  a proposed trade agreement approach which opponents feel would further drain jobs from the U.S. But everyone protesting was concerned about Obama’s “executive action” in accommodating, even facilitating, waves of illegal immigrants. Congress has put up only feeble resistance to this.

KnightHuberJudge

Simi Valley Mayor Bob Huber, Councilman Mike Judge and CD-25 Rep. Steve Knight at 4-17-15 Knight’s Simi Valley field office open house. (Photo: CitizensJournal.us)

 

KnightSteveandWife

CD-25 Rep. Steve Knight with wife Lily., at 4-17-15 Simi Valley field office open house. (Photo: CitizensJournal.us)

These seemed to be the only three objections to Knight’s incumbency raised at the event. He has cultivated an image of himself as a fairly Conservative Republican. In 2014, he easily swept away the Democrat contender for his job. The remaining two Republicans fought for the job in November, with Knight easily besting Ventura County veteran politician Tony Strickland, who ran in the 25th District after being beaten by Julia Brownley in the 26th in 2012, following the redistricting.

KnightEventImpeachObama

There were quite a few protesters who favor impeachment, but most there were focusing on the amnesty issue, outside Rep. Steve Knight’s Simi Valley field office, 4-17-15. (Photo: CitizensJournal.us)

 

KnightEventMingling

CD-25 Rep. Steve Knight listens to constituents at 4-17-15 Simi Valley open house/ribbon cutting (Photo: CitizensJournal.us)

 Protesters barred from Knight open house

After introductions, speeches and the ceremonial ribbon-cutting for the new office outside, participants filed into the office upstairs. The building manager told protesters that they were not allowed to enter (watch Raymond Herrera video. MORE, MORE, MORE). But, some had no signs, looked like the general public and just walked in unchallenged. Some even talked to Rep. Knight personally. Others were literally stopped at the door, where the manager of the 45,000 sq. ft. building and others physically blocked the entrance, or upstairs at the suite entrance. We heard from two protesters that the manager called the Simi Valley Police and attempted to accuse them of “assault.”  Several bystanders disputed that (two told us so) and told the police so when they arrived. Police agreed and left.

It is understandable that Knight’s entourage didn’t want the circus of loud protesters with signs and megaphones in the very close quarters of the small, already crowded suite. Since Knight is a public official and since the public is paying for the suite, the building manager’s claim of private property she described to me sounded a bit shaky. Most protesters were not permitted to enter the building or no further than the hall outside the suite. From past observation of this group it was determined that they are strong activists (standing in the road blocking buses) but non-violent.

The group at the open house consisted of Knight’s entourage, Chamber of Commerce people, politicians, such as Mayor Bob Huber, Councilman Mike Judge, 2014 Congressional District 24  primary candidate Rafael Dagnesses, Santa Clarita Councilman Dante Acosta, Alan Ferdman and some members of the public.

The atmosphere was conducive to short one-on-one or small group conversations with Knight, his staff and other officials. There were no group presentations or Q & A.

I spoke with Bob and Christina Powers who talked to Rep. Knight about amnesty and came away believing that he hadn’t supported amnesty.

 

WethePeopleRisingLogoWe the People Rising

The organization present in force at this event and which attracted the most attention during last year’s huge wave of illegal immigrant arrivals and the Obama administration’s accommodation of it, is We The People Rising (WTPR), based in San Bernadino County. Most readers likely remember the huge controversy, when illegal immigrants were being bused by ICE from station to station in Southern California and Arizona to duck protesters. The group’s members physically blocked buses in Murrietta, making national headlines. WTPR has attracted members in this region, too, with quite a few district residents present. For instance, Greg Aprahamian, of Santa Clarita, is an active member of this group, led by Robin Hvidston.

Statement by Robin Hvidson, leader of We the People Rising:

HR 240 and the Steve Knight Vote

KnightEvent 072

We The People Rising leader Robin Hvidston. (Photo: CitizensJournal.us)

Congress Members in our state of California, such as Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Congressman Tom McClintock, did not vote for the final version of HR 240 that REMOVED the amendment to defund Obama’s executive immigration plan. Steve Knight chose – as 1 of the 75 Republicans who voted yes – to cast a vote alongside Rep Luis Gutierrez and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to fund DHS without the defunding amendment and, therefore, the House of Representatives, ultimately, did NOT exercise the power of the purse to legislatively stop Obama’s immigration plan.
 
So when Steve Knight claims he did not vote for amnesty, he is playing a word game.  Obama’s immigration plan to legalize millions of illegal aliens cannot go forward without funding. Steve Knight’s yes vote, on the final Senate version of the DHS spending bill, provided the funds for the Obama immigration plan to be fully implemented.
 
I was very disappointed that Steve Knight approved of a DHS funding bill that did not restrict funding for Obama’s executive overreach. Congress has the power to stop Obama. A no vote to the version the Senate sent back to the House of Representatives, by Steve Knight, would have sent the message to Obama, and to Steve Knight’s constituents, that CONGRESS is the branch of government that legislates and crafts immigration laws – not the president.
 

It is interesting that the protest groups, although nowhere near as large as the organized amnesty groups at some other events, are getting larger and at this event might have exceeded Knight’s own group in size.

The group is a fairly diverse mixture of white, brown, black and yellow members. We might run a future article about some of its members.

 

GregWethePeople

Activist Greg Aprahamian and others argue amnesty with Congressman Steve Knight outside Simi Valley field office on 4-17-15. (Photo: CitizensJournal.us)

 

Knight faces protesters

To Congressman Knight’s credit, he came outside afterward (see photos) to engage the protesters to defend his position on immigration-related votes. He said he has never favored amnesty (The group disputes this- see: Immigration Letter) and in fact did not vote for amnesty. He said that there were four versions of the HR240 bill and the final one he voted for and was passed did not address amnesty. Some thought this was sophistry and called him a liar or a traitor to his face at this encounter Friday night, while some of Knight’s staff and supporters waited by him uneasily, trying to get him to leave.  Most other Republicans, all but 75 actually, such as Tom McClintock, voted against HR240 because it didn’t specifically defund amnesty-related activities.

Knight threatens protester

At one time, the discussion got somewhat heated. To make a point, a protester touched Knight on the shoulder in what appeared to be a non-threatening gesture, after shaking his hand. Ex-policeman Knight immediately responded, with aggressive posturing:

“Mike, Mike, hey, if you touch me again I’ll drop your ass.”  Then he stated his case- See video below ….

Rep. Knight later described the incident differently to CitizensJournal.us (on April 20), stating that Mike pulled him toward himself, then grabbed his shoulder hard to intimidate him.  One of the other protesters we talked to agreed with Rep. Knight’s view. Watch the video above and make up your own mind.

In essence, Knight said that the House tried to defund amnesty, but the Senate could only muster 54 votes (vs. 60 needed), so they sent it back to the House, which was only able to secure a one week extension. The House and Senate finally approved a bill with full funding, but Knight claimed he didn’t vote for amnesty. The protesters were unhappy with that. Later one of them asked what will be done going forward, which wasn’t answered.

Greg Aprahamian (in above photo and video, questioning Knight) has emerged as the most visible face of district opposition to de facto Congressional acquiescence to Obama’s “executive amnesty,” which his group asserts was done in direct in violation of the law and without even the fig leaf of an “Executive Order.” He became upset at the failure to enforce border control, employment law and other immigration law, then started monitoring the 2014 Congressional election campaign in his district and did not like what he saw.

At the time, there were two Republican and one major Democrat contender for the nomination. Aprahamian followed the campaign closely and showed up at campaign events and debates. He asked pointed questions about immigration policy of Republican candidates State Senator Steve Knight of Lancaster and former state Senator Tony Strickland of Moorpark. He felt that the responses were weak or unresponsive and documented that with video clips confirming it, which he spread widely. He also publicized candidate ratings by immigration law enforcement advocate group Numbers USA, which showed that both candidates did not strongly support immigration law enforcement. Knight then contacted Numbers USA and filled out their questionnaire in a manner which caused them to substantially improve Knight’s rating.  This might have provided an additional electoral boost for Knight in this fairly Conservative district. Aprahamian cries foul and believes that it was fraudulent, when viewed from the perspective of his subsequent actions in office.

Aprahamian wrote this article about the event and the situation.

 

GOP iconThe Republican Party

The party has attempted to stake out a middle ground on the illegal immigration issues, trying to give the impression that it is for enforcing the law, while simultaneously doing little to stand behind it. Some major Presidential hopefuls, such as Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, Who spearheaded Senate “comprehensive immigration reform bill S744, which passed the Senate and grants most provisions of what opponents label “amnesty,” are in favor of eventual amnesty for most illegals, although they would prefer that other language be used to describe it. They call it “a path to Citizenship.” But, it was stopped cold in the House of Representatives. Now the Conservatives seem to be a bigger majority in the House GOP delegation since the election.

One can only imagine the pressures that Rep. Knight and other Republican officials are subjected to, with major business interests and farmers pushing amnesty, backed by many millions of dollars. National, state and regional NGO’s (Non Government Organizations), immigrant rights groups, unions, political groups, lobbyists and other organizations push politicians in both directions on the issue.

There is evidence that much of the party hierarchy was open to “comprehensive immigration reform,” which is a code word for partial or full amnesty.  This was all thrown into question when it was discovered that a majority of voters want to reign in amnesty. Most are not against immigration, but believe that immigration laws are simply being ignored, that the numbers are too high for comfortable assimilation, with schools, prisons, hospitals, homeless population, poverty and costs all adversely affected by successive large waves of both illegal and legal immigrants crossing our borders.

While anti-amnesty advocates don’t bring large numbers of people into the streets like immigration advocates do so effectively, they have been very effective in letting officials know their views via letters, emails, calls and even visits, not to mention social media.  There is evidence that this all had a big effect on the 2014 elections, which broke records in the number of legislative and other seats which changed parties, although that is less true in California than most other states. In spite of all this, though, Congress in effect has acquiesced to Obama’s executive amnesty. There are strong constituencies of both sides.

Now, it is being fought out in the courts, with more than half the states suing the federal government over the policies. Their standing to do even do so is being challenged as this is written.

President Obama

President Obama

The Democratic Party

The Democrats support widespread amnesty, with few exception for most of what they estimate are 11 million illegal immigrants (opponents say up to 30 million). Barack Obama himself has at least 22 instances on record when he said that he couldn’t override immigration law. Yet he has done just that increasingly over the last few years, culminating in his February “Executive Action,” done without cover of law and arguably in direct violation of existing multiple statutes. Even though some of his amnesty actions have been stayed by U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, the Obama administration has illegally continued some of its actions, according to plaintiff attorneys for the 26 states suing the federal govrenment  over alleged violations of immigration law. An appeal to that ruling by Obama’s forces is pending as this was written.

Many Democrats and some Republicans believe that we should let more people in, let the ones here already stay and bring in their whole families, on various grounds such as humanitarianism, international law claims, open border theories, declare some refugees and more.

 

Rep. Steve Knight

I have talked with the Congressman twice by phone, most recently on April 20. He believes that the protest group is more interested in confrontation and generating video footage than in engaging in meaningful dialogue, concluding with “I’m done with them…. If they send me a list of all their names, addresses and phone numbers, maybe we’ll talk.” He says that they come and disrupt his open houses but do not come to his townhalls which are a more appropriate venue for such discussions. He added  that the group (We the People Rising) thinks that there is a “silver bullet” for this and there isn’t. We the People Rising Robin Hvidston said she wasn’t aware of any such townhalls, but if they were, they would be there.

The Congressman said he read and voted for all four versions of the bill, does not approve of amnesty, has not read the  S744 “comprehensive immigration reform” bill, but is not in favor of the “comprehensive immigration reform” approach.

Knight’s own wife Lily, whom I met Friday at the event and talked with briefly, is an immigrant. Knight has memories of the difficulties in the legalities of gaining permission for her to be in the country. He described it as “incredibly difficult,” by design and made even more complex by attorneys. “It’s as hard now as it’s ever been…. attorneys make it complex…. they are the only ones who understand it and are making a ton of money with it.”

He said he would like to see immigration “fixed” and that 30 years after the Reagan amnesty, it is still a problem, that we need fixes not just on illegal immigration, but legal immigration, particularly in the legal procedures for gaining residency and  citizenship. He said it should be hard enough to weed out those unsuitable, but not so hard that it is nearly impossible. He followed up with “there’s gotta be something done …. I don’t have all the answers… we need more border security.”

When asked about limits on number of immigrants, he said that we already have a limit but the number coming in is far higher. He would not address what an appropriate number would be, or would he give a definition of what amnesty means to him.

He said he is “not against shutting down the government in certain cases… in certain circumstances, it’s not the worst thing… but you’ve gotta have a plan, something to gain” (by it).

Knight asked me if I thought Congress would be responsible for a government shutdown if amnesty defunding was passed. I responded that if Congress funded everything else but not that and the administration refused to sign the bill and then shut down the government, it would be on them, not Congress. He said, well 99% of the media in this country would disagree with you.

He said that they (Republicans) are dealing with a President who is 100% against their party. Knight said he “wants to do what is right, but obviously politics come into play.” He further said that he is approached often by “one issue groups,” but he and staff must deal with all issues- he just wants a conversation. He said if this is the biggest issue in the country, then it must be dealt with. He stated that his two biggest priorities now are Aerospace & Defense and business which are critical for his district and of great importance to the entire nation, He is on key committees to be more effective in those and is the author of small business legislation, HR1390. He mentioned that “9 out of 10 ideas” they act upon “come from the community.”

Rep. Knight’s positions on immigration, from http://www.ontheissues.org/.

 

What about Julia Brownley and Lois Capps?

Other area Congressional reps, such as local Congresswomen Julia Brownley- CD-26 and Lois Capps-CD-24, have gone whole-hog for amnesty/immigration “reform,” yet have not attracted the kind of opposition that Knight and others, such as Rep. Kevin McCarthy, CD-23, House Majority Leader, have. Bakersfield area people such as Tea Party leader Tom Pavich, followers and many other Republicans have made it very clear that McCarthy’s immigration position is totally unacceptable. But McCarthy, who became House Majority Leader after Virginia’s Eric Cantor was forced out by his constituents, had no credible opposition in the primary and district Republicans/Conservatives weren’t about to vote for his Democrat opponent. Both CA Senators- Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer- are on board with “comprehensive immigration reform.”

We previously asked some activists why they weren’t protesting actions of Democrats such as Brownley and Capps, who are very strong supporters of amnesty in nearly all cases, except for the worst criminals. The response was that there was little hope to change their votes and the only solution is to get rid of them and simultaneously work on people like Knight who are closer to their views, which seems like a backhanded compliment to Knight.

KnightEvent 106

CD-25 Rep. Steve Knight faces of with amnesty opponent activists outside his Simi Valley field office, 4-17-15. (Photo: CitizensJournal.us)

The State of California

The state has come down firmly on the side of illegal immigrants, preventing most action to deport them, granting drivers licenses, permitting de facto “sanctuary cities,” (sanctuary state, at this point), conferring certain benefits and is now attempting to pass 10 new bills to further this. Virtually all local state legislators are on board with this. Only Assemblyman Scott Wilk has shown any previous resistance to amnesty-related bills.  More on the ten bills HERE.

KnightEvent 101-1

Anti-amnesty activists picket Rep. Steve Knight’s Simi Valley field office during open house 4-17-15. (Photo: CitizensJournal.us)

 

Analysis

We listened to the pronouncements of Rep. Knight on the subject (we also have talked on the phone), the protesters, various news, magazine, blog articles and interpretations of HR240 from some of these. The prevailing interpretation is that the legislation does not and is not preventing Obama from continuing to break the law.

However a federal judge has placed a stay on Obama’s executive actions on immigration policy/amnesty. He further said he was led to believe that the actions hadn’t begun yet, but then was shown evidence that it had. It may even be still proceeding as this is written.

There is also evidence that the administration is not only allowing immigrants to come in, stay in, be released after hearings with little chance of them coming back to court, providing financial incentives for them, providing information to help them here, issuing Social Security cards (about 500,000 already from what we understand), but is also even taking proactive steps to transport them to the USA, at taxpayers’ expense and concealing their disposition after arrival.

Rep. Knight says he has never been for amnesty, has never voted for it. Technically, the latter is true and provides splendid cover for Congressmen talking to constituents or running for re-election. But, the failure to take proactive steps to prevent systematic, widespread violation of the law is evident. The first line of defense of the law should be the Dept. of Justice, but it will not act and is in fact taking steps to support it. Loretta Lynch, candidate to replace incumbent Attorney-General Eric Holder has already indicated that she would support Obama’s executive actions on immigration, even though they appear to be in violation of the law.

However, HR 240, which I read in its entirety on Saturday, does have an interesting and very clear clause:

Sec. 546. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall ensure enforcement of all immigration laws (as defined in section 101(a)(17) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(17))).

We also know enough about complex agreements and budgets to understand that this document is very unstructured, difficult to understand, difficult to do a cost roll-up of, difficult to trace the trail of accountability and law supporting it, difficult to ensure that funds are properly allocated and subsequently tracked for compliance and easy to use discretion in use of some of the funds. In addition, it would be exceedingly difficult to trace the full impact of all the legal references and links in the bill.

Some say that what was needed was very clear language specifically forbidding the Obama administration from wholesale violation of immigration law. While I am not an attorney or an expert in legislation, after reading this very complex, very expensive, nearly chaotic bill, it looks as  though it would be possible to shift money around to do what Obama wanted, even though it would be in violation the above-cited  Sec. 546.

Administration attorneys say that the executive branch is granted wide discretionary power in interpretation of and prioritization of enforcement of the law. However, attorneys for the 26 states suing on this say that the administration is clearly flouting the overall intent and meaning of the law, not just on a case by case exception basis.

One point to consider is that different people have different definitions of what constitutes amnesty. Some believe it is only granting full Citizenship immediately. Some say it is merely allowing people to stay and/or making easier for people to come in by not enforcing immigration laws or border control, or employment, or benefits, or loosening those laws. 

If in fact amnesty proponents are correct and that moral justification exists for mass amnesty and bringing in many millions more, that the huge social and financial cost would be worth it and that all such objections should be overruled, this would still legally first require legislation and with a high degree of consensus to support the radical transformation of our society which would occur were it to be fully enacted. Obama himself said this on at least 22 previous occasions– hear it in his own words.

Opponents say immigration laws should be enforced, not significantly changed and that aid, if any is justified, should be provided to would-be illegal immigrants in their home countries.

 ~~~

HR 240 Text

Some previous relevant CJ articles:

Report from CA CD-25 Rep. Congressman Steve Knight’s open house

Report from CA CD-25 Rep. Congressman Steve Knight’s open houseBy Greg Aprahamian, https://wethepeoplerising.wordpress.com/ On Jan 14 th, 2015 The Republican led House of Representatives exercised its power of the purse and passed HR240, which provided funding for the DHS, it also prohibited funds to be used to implement Pres. Obama’s executive amnesty.   In late February the Republican-led Senate stripped the amnesty de-funding language from the […]

Tony Strickland downgraded by Numbers USA for dodging questions on Amnesty

Tony Strickland downgraded by Numbers USA for dodging questions on AmnestyBy Greg Aprahamian The Congressional race in CA 25 is nearing its final stretch and Numbers USA, which is one of the country’s leading organizations battling illegal immigration and Amnesty for illegal aliens, just downgraded Tony Strickland on its candidate comparison.  He refused to answer a direct question asking him to state his position on […]

Candidates forum: Pointed immigration questions to Tony Strickland and Steve Knight- CD25 candidates

Candidates forum: Pointed immigration questions to Tony Strickland and Steve Knight- CD25 candidatesCandidates Corner (facts with some opinion) By  Greg Aprahamian Below are the video clips of the immigration questions that I asked Congressional Candidates Steve Knight and Tony Strickland at the candidate symposium in Santa Clarita, CA on Sept 17th. Editor’s note: they are the two District 25 Republican candidates for Congress. My goal in attending […]   – September 23, 2014

 

House approves DHS funding bill, ending immigration …

The Seven Amnesties Passed by Congress | NumbersUSA

Early bill defunded amnesty, rejected by Senate

House passes bill to defund Obama’s immigration orders …

 

2. Curtain Raised on State Immigration Bills – CAPITAL & MAIN

California Democrats unveil immigration bills, jab Congress …

California’s Latest Insult to Citizens and Legal Immigrants

Ballotpedia on Steve Knight

New Steve Knight CD-25 field office is at at 1445 E. Los Angeles Avenue, Simi Valley, CA

____________________________________________________

George Miller is Publisher of Citizensjournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.

Get free Citizensjournal.us BULLETINS. Please patronize our advertisers to keep us publishing and/or DONATE.

Scroll down to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 + 2 =