West Michigan Legislator wants to Renege on Obligations to Native Americans

West Michigan area representative Dave Agema of Grandville has made the news again, this time stating that he believes that the state of Michigan should no longer give Native Americans free tuition. In an article in The Kalamazoo Gazette, Agema says “Casinos are making billions of dollars for Indian tribes. But we are paying for their kids to go to college” and recommends that the state stop paying for Native Americans to attend public universities and community colleges in the state. Agema introduced a bill seeking to abolish the Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver, but it has not been moved out of committee despite his protests. He says that:

“The college tuition waiver isn’t necessary anymore since casinos and their revenue sharing with tribal members are thriving despite Michigan’s economic malaise. In fact, the tribes likely have more reserve funds than the state of Michigan.”

He further argues that the waiver program violates the anti-affirmative action Proposal 2 passed in 2004 that makes it so no public university or community college can give preferential treatment on the basis of race. Agema says that “I’m not against Native Americans, but you’re picking out one particular group and giving them something for free when no one else can get it.”

However, Agema is apparently quite ignorant of the fact that these tuition payments exist in part as a means–however limited–of compensating Native Americans for the fact that white European-Americans like himself stole their land and continue to act from a colonial mentality in dealing with Native Americans. The Kalamazoo Gazette article points out that the tuition payment requirement is included in treaties–with legally sovereign nations–signed in the 1890s and the 1900s. However, as is par for the course with the government’s treaty obligations, Michigan failed to formalize the agreement until 1976.

Unfortunately, this level of ignorance is no surprise coming from Agema. In the past, he has held hearings promoting anti-immigration views, has said that he wants to make Michigan “a more difficult place for illegals to survive,” has advocated bombing mosques, and has called for public school teachers to be armed.

Press Calls for Agema’s Return to House Panel

In an editorial published on Friday, the Grand Rapids Press called for Grandville Representative David Agema’s return to the House appropriations panel. Agema was removed from the panel last month following a controversy surrounding Agema’s missing the key budget hearings for a Russian hunting expedition.

The Press argues that House speaker Andy Dillon has “an obligation to disclose to Mr. Agema’s constituents and to other lawmakers his exact reasons for taking him off the group” and that an explanation for Agema’s removal has not been forthcoming. The Press continued its earlier criticism of Agema’s hunting trip by describing it as “ill-advised” but suggested that Dillon’s failure to articulate exactly why Agema was removed fuels “speculation by Mr. Agema and others that his actions were political, driven by his push for tougher enforcement of rules on illegal immigration.” The Press also claims that Agema’s trip–while demonstrating “awful judgment”–does is “arguably less egregious” than the actions of Grand Rapids Representative Michael Sak who was removed after drunkenly attempting to use his influence as a state representative to get a ride from a state trooper. Sak was reinstated after only two months.

The editorial fails to mention the Press’ endorsement of Agema in the 2006 elections, a fact that seems relevant and might factor into its defense of Agema. Moreover, while the article cites “speculation” that Agema’s removal may be due to his positions on immigration, it cites no sources other than Agema that hint at such speculation.

Dave Agema Removed from House Committee

photo of dave agema

West Michigan Republican representative Dave Agema of Grandville has been removed from his spot on the Michigan House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee. Both the Grand Rapids Press and the subscription-only Gongwer news service reported that House Speaker Andy Dillon had Agema removed after Agema left the country for a hunting trip during key discussions on Michigan’s budget and because Agema’s staffers called Dillon “a liar.” Following criticism in the media of his absence, Agema’s staffers said “Dillon was fully aware that this [the trip] was happening.” It iss also worth noting that Agema has missed more votes–76–than any legislator in either the Michigan House or Senate.

In his defense, Agema was quoted in the Grand Rapids Press saying that:

“It’s retribution for me standing up for my guiding principles…This is a smokescreen, because they wanted to get rid of a guy who was finding government overspending and the guy who was representing the moral views of my constituents.”

Agema has complained in the media that the coverage of his Russian hunting trip was unfair and that his plan to allow teachers to be armed was “mischaracterized” by the media. He even went as far as to say to the Grand Rapids Press on October 7 that media coverage “made me look like a flaming wacko.” However, even the Grand Rapids Press–who endorsed Agema in the November 2006 election–criticized him and said that he has “only himself to blame” for the reaction to his hunting trip and legislative proposal.

Controversial Representative Heavily Supported by PAC Money

Representative David Agema–who has drawn criticism for controversial statements calling for teachers to be armed to reduce threats of terrorism and school shootings and immigration–has been heavily supported by PACs according to a review of campaign finance records.

Since being elected last November, Grandville area Michigan House of Representatives member Dave Agema has made a number of controversial statements on Iraq, against immigration, and advocating for allowing teachers to be armed to deter terrorism and school shootings. Moreover, Agema has recently been criticized for taking an exotic hunting trip in Russia and missing critical discussions on the state budget.

One area that has been ignored in some of the focus on Agema has been how his campaign was funded. Agema raised over $60,000 dollars–the majority either coming from himself (a retired airline pilot) or various PACs–compared to $15,201 raised by his Democratic Party opponent, Steve Kauffman. Agema’s campaign committee was formed on March 28, 2006 for the purpose of attaining the office of 74th District representative to the Michigan House of Representatives. The “David Agema for State Representative Committee” held its funds at the Fifth Third Bank on Chicago Drive in Grandville. A Jenison resident named Steven Bouma functioned as the Committee’s treasurer during the election.

In his “Pre-Primary” report filed on July 25, 2006, Agema listed $30,020 in campaign contributions to his Committee, along with $483.73 in “in-kind” contribution. The “in-kind” contributions all came from Agema himself, while the cash campaign contributions came from a variety of sources, including Agema. Agema contributed $15,983.73 to the campaign at that report over half the total of the 91 contributions. Aside from Agema’s own contribution, the largest contribution was $2,000 from the Michigan Farm Bureau PAC. Agema also received $500 from the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce and $250 from the Rental Property Owners Association, as well as $250 from the politically influential Richard DeVos. In a “Post-Primary” report, Agema listed an additional $2,000 in contributions, the majority of which ($1,750) came from influence groups including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce ($1,500) and Kentwood Senator Kevin Green’s Green Team Majority Fund ($250). In that report, Agema also listed a $250 contribution from Alticor (Amway) President Doug DeVos.

By his “Pre-General” report filed on October 24, 2006, Agema had received an additional $23,525 in campaign contributions, bringing his Committee’s total to $55,545. During the period, Agema contributed an additional $5,000 to his campaign, brining his total contributions to $21,144.78. However, a significant portion of his contributions during this period came from PACs. This included $3,000 from the Michigan Farm Bureau PAC, $1,000 from the MIBANK PAC, $1,000 from the Michigan Realtors Association’s “RPAC,” $1,000 from the Auto Dealers of Michigan PAC, $1,000 from the Michigan Health and Hospital Association’s Health PAC, $1,000 from Blue Cross Blue Shield’s BCBSM PAC, $500 from the Insurance and Financial Advisors PAC, $500 from the Green Majority Fund, $300 from the Michigan Restaurant Association PAC, $250 from the Fifth Third Bancorp PAC, $200 from the Pharmacy Action Council PAC, $200 from the Michigan Society of Anesthesiologists, $150 from the Michigan Optometric Association PAC, $100 from the Michigan Osteopathic PAC, and $100 from the Cliffsmich PAC, $100 from Michigan Business Aviation Association, Other advocacy groups including Friends of Spectrum Health ($250), the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce ($250), Friends of Grand Valley ($200), and Friends of Housing ($100) also made contributions to the campaign. All told, contributions from PACs, advocacy groups, or other candidate’s campaigns were responsible for $12,000 of his $23,525 in contributions during this period. Various politically collected individuals from the DeVos and VanAndel families also made additional contributions during this period, including $250 from Douglas DeVos, $75 from Stephen Van Andel, and $50 from Cynthia Van Andel. Late filings revealed an additional $1,200 in contributions from the Associated Builders PAC, the KAROUB Associates PAC, the Michigan Optometric Association PAC, and the MORBAN PAC.

Agema’s final report lists an additional $6,795 in contributions, bringing his total to $62,582.45 for the election cycle. Again, the overwhelming majority of these contributions came from PACs, other candidate committees, and advocacy groups. Contributions during this period included $4,000 from the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers PAC, $500 from the “23 is Enough” PAC, $500 from the Associated Builders of Michigan PAC, $300 from the Karoub Associates PAC, $250 from the Michigan Propane Gas Association PAC, $200 from the Michigan Optometric Association PAC, $200 from the MORBAN PAC, $150 from the School Administrators PAC, $100 from the Daimler Chrysler Corporation PAC, $100 from the Deputy Sheriff’s Star PAC, and $100 from the MASCO Corporation PAC.

Representative Agema Hunts in Russia while House Discusses State Budget

West Michigan area Representative Dave Agema (Republican, Grandville) is in Russia on a two-week snow sheep hunting expedition while his colleagues in the Michigan House of Representatives are debating a plan to address Michigan’s $1.75 billion budget deficit. The story was reported in the Grand Rapids Press today, and while such items are usually best ignored, it is worth noting in light of Agema’s overall extremism. Agema has repeatedly attacked immigrants, suggested that public school teachers be armed, and has dismissed the torture of detainees in Iraq. Somehow, the fact that he is skipping out on a critical budget discussion to go on a Russian snow sheep hunting expedition–which can cost upwards of $20,000 according to the Press–seems fitting.

Agema’s chief of staff said that he informed the House several months ago and that he was assured that this would be a good time to go. Nevertheless, Agema’s absence is listed as “unexcused” and there has been the usual partisan sniping over whether or not he told the House leadership of his planned absence. Fortunately, while this is the type of borderline irrelevant news that political reporters love to cover, a Press reporter did do a follow-up to Agema’s call for allowing teachers to be armed in which it reported that Agema’s plan has been largely dismissed by school administrators.

West Michigan Lawmaker Calls for Arming Teachers

photo of dave agema

On Sunday, the Grand Rapids Press ran a story about new legislation proposed by Grandville Representative Dave Agema in the Michigan House of Representatives that would allow teachers to carry handguns inside of schools and classrooms. According to the Press, Agema believes that “right now, the only people who enter school with guns are people who intend to do harm.” Agema further said that armed teachers would make students and terrorists “think twice” about attacking a school.

The Press reported that Agema is framing the legislation as an “option” that would allow school employees to carry concealed weapons in the classroom if they get the approval of their school administrator. Agema explained the rationale as being recent school shootings, asserting that the shootings at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech University would have been less likely to have happened. Agema is quoted saying “if one of the teachers had a CCW (concealed weapons) permit, they could have saved many lives,” although he offers no proof for his assertion. He further claimed that terrorists have considered targeting schools, with Agema claiming “‘I’ve talked to some people. They say that could be what they’re [the terrorists] planning for us here.”

Agema said that he expects that his legislation will receive considerable opposition, especially from the Michigan Education Association, an entity that Agema has previously criticized. While his legislation has received fourteen Republican co-sponsors, it was criticized by everyone cited in the Grand Rapids Press article. Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Bernard Taylor said, “it hurts to hear we’ve come to this, that we’re so afraid of children that we think we need to be armed to work with them.” Similarly, security officials at both Rockford Public Schools and Grand Rapids Public Schools dismissed Agema’s plan, with Grand Rapids Public Schools Security Chief Larry Johnson saying, “it’s a ridiculous bill.”

During his campaign, Agema made “education” one of his major issue areas along with “right to life,” “employment,” and “immigration.” This legislation is the first that he has proposed relating to “education,” although it has nothing to do with his stated concern over increasing the cost “efficiency” of the schools nor does it focus on the quality of education in Michigan.

9/11 Father that Testified at Immigration Hearing had Ties to the Far Right

Peter Gadiel, a member of the organization 9/11 Families for a Secure America, testified yesterday before the Michigan Task Force on Border Security & Immigration Reform at the behest of West Michigan area representative Dave Agema. Gadiel failed to disclose his ties to the far right.

photo of peter gadiel

Yesterday’s hearing on immigration in Grandville, organized by West Michigan House of Representatives member Dave Agema featured a considerable amount of testimony that attempted to equate undocumented immigration with terrorists. This is not a new technique for Agema, as he has previously equated immigrants with Hamas and al-Qaeda. This has been coupled with other xenophobic rhetoric coming from Agema and the rest of the his Republican colleagues from the Michigan House of Representatives’ Michigan Task Force on Border Security & Immigration Reform, including comments asserting that immigrants are taking jobs from Michigan residents.

This rhetoric has been used by Agema to push for a bill in the Michigan House of Representatives that would require people to prove their citizenship or immigration status before receiving a driver’s license. In order to advance his argument that undocumented immigrants are associated with terrorists, Agema brought Connecticut resident Peter Gadiel of 9/11 Families for a Secure America. According to Gadiel, 9/11 Families for a Secure America is a membership organization of people “who lost loved ones in those attacks, survivors of those attacks, as well as people who have been victims of violent crimes committed by illegal aliens and their survivors.”

Gadiel’s comments were both some of the harshest and most polished of those made by the individuals invited to speak at the hearing. Gadiel began by talking about how the United States’ government has failed to “stem the tide of illegal aliens” and to prevent Americans from suffering “needlessly at the hands of people who have no business being in the United States.” As part of his testimony, Gadiel urged Michigan to pass Agema’s bill to prevent issuing of driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants and “the violent felons and terrorists among them.” He asserted that “every illegal alien is a person who’s true identity has never been verified and therefore any illegal alien may be a terrorist or violent felon” and repeatedly explained that the “9/11 terrorists” were “illegal aliens.” Gadiel had no qualms about associating undocumented immigrants with the 9/11 attacks; even going so far to state, “I will say with a great degree of confidence that had they not had driver’s licenses, my son and 3,000 other people would be alive today.”

He asked the Task Force if “the people of Michigan really want to be guilty of aiding and abetting the next terrorist attack?” He argued that “Americans can be confident that the next 9/11 terrorists will be illegal aliens” and claimed that the “people of Michigan have moral obligation” to strengthen the state’s laws regarding driver’s licenses. He further claimed that:

“Michigan’s legislators and governor Granholm have a clear choice–you either fight terrorism by denying licenses to illegal aliens or you help terrorists by granting licenses to illegal aliens and the unknown terrorists and violent felons among them. You can do one or the other, you can’t do both.”

Gadiel also explained that one of his 9/11 Families for a Secure America’s board members had a daughter that was stalked and murdered by an “illegal alien” who had three previous arrests while others across the United States have lost their lives to “illegal aliens” who were “driving drunk.” As with his other assertions, there was no evidence provided to support his claims.

Near the end of his testimony, Gadiel told the Task Force “I have been called a Nazi, a KKK, other horrific names.” He asserted that he was of Jewish heritage, but did not explain why he had been called such names and why he chose to share the story. Had Gadiel disclosed some of his own connections and the connections of his organization with the organized anti-immigrant movement, those it the audience would have understood why he was concerned about being termed a racist.

Gadiel is a former board member of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) an organization that was formed in the 1980s to oppose immigration. Since its founding, FAIR has been accused of maintaining links to white supremacist groups and holding racist views. Many of these accusations center around the fact that from 1985 to 1994 FAIR accepted money from the Pioneer Fund, an organization that funded research on eugenics and the so-called superiority of the white race. FAIR’s founder John Tanton, who now lives in Michigan, somewhat notoriously used racist terminology to describe Latinos in a series of memos outlining his strategy for the anti-immigrant movement. In addition, Tanton runs a publishing company called Social Contract Press that publishes and distributes a wide range of anti-immigrant literature.

Currently, FAIR and 9/11 Families for a Secure America share two advisors–David Schippers and Alan Weeden. Weeden is on FAIR’s board of directors while David Schippers is listed as a member of FAIR’s “National Board of Advisors.” Additionally, Richard Lamm–one of 9/11 Families for a Secure America’s advisors–is a former member of FAIR’s board of directors. Lamm, who is a former governor of Colorado, once gave a speech asserting that turning the United States into “a bilingual or multi-lingual and bicultural country” would destroy the country by valuing “multiculturalism.” The fourth member of 9/11 Families for a Secure America’s “Advisors” is Michael Cutler, who is on the board of the Center for Immigration Studies, an organization that was founded as an offshoot of FAIR in the 1980s.

Additionally, 9/11 Families for a Secure America links to a variety of anti-immigrant websites from its own website, including Vdare.com and American Patrol, both of whom have been accused of racism by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Moreover, Gadiel’s writings have appeared on Vdare.com, with Gadiel writing about the “invasion of law-breaking illegals” in Connecticut who “evade taxes.” Gadiel founded but is no longer with Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control and also spoke recently at a rally attended by white supremacists.

9/11 Families for a Secure America website lists “endorsements” from to individuals associated with the far right spectrum of the immigration debate in Congress–Wisconsin Representative James Sensenbrenner who in 2005 pushed a punitive immigration “reform” package through the House and Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo. The group describes its purpose:

“To focus their [the public’s] attention on the dangers of unsecured borders, visa waiver programs, loose standards for issuing drivers’ licenses, acceptance of matricular cards. We will make sure the public understands that illegal immigration and terrorism are inseparable issues.”

To this end, 9/11 Families for a Secure America has used the emotion associated with the 9/11 attacks to call for stricter border controls. The group asserts that “the failure to keep out unauthorized aliens led directly to the 9/11 attacks and the deaths of our loved ones” and prioritizes its work in the areas of “border security” and “driver’s license reform.” This has included endorsing legislation such as Agema’s that would prevent undocumented immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses as well as supporting measures such as assigning troops to the United States-Mexico border. The group takes a number of other stands including calling for the enactment of “English-only” laws, ending the practice of awarding citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants when they are born in the United States, and ending affirmative action programs for immigrants. Many of these positions go far beyond addressing “secure concerns” and instead reflect a larger anti-immigrant bias.

Despite these positions, 9/11 Families for a Secure America has been able to position itself within the mainstream of the immigration debate. Just as they did at the hearing yesterday in West Michigan, the group has delivered testimony before Congress and has appeared in the media without disclosure of their connections to the far right. This in many ways reflects the successes of the organized anti-immigrant movement. That movement–despite ties to the racist right–has been able to have considerable influence on the political debates over immigration in the past twenty years, despite its ties to the racist right.

Republican Task Force Holds Hearing on “Illegal Immigration” in West Michigan

A Republican Task Force in the Michigan House of Representatives held a hearing on the effects of “illegal immigration” on West Michigan on Monday. The perspectives presented by those invited to testify by the Task Force primarily advocated an “enforcement only” perspective on immigration.

Today, the Michigan Task Force on Border Security & Immigration Reform–a body consisting of five members of Michigan’s House of Representatives–held a hearing “on how illegal immigration” affects Michigan. The hearing was held in Jenison because one of the committee’s members–Dave Agema–is a Republican representative from the West Michigan city of Grandville. The three other members of the Task Force–all of whom are Republicans–Phil Pavlov of St. Clair Township, Chuck Moss of Birmingham, and Dave Robertson of Grand Blanc–either have held or will hold hearings on the topic in their district.

Today’s hearing featured nine speakers representing a variety of entities including Customs and Border Protection, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, the Michigan State Police, the Ottawa County Clerk’s Office, the Ottawa County Farm Bureau, Mercantile Bank, and Congressman Peter Hoekstra. The speakers, while all presenting a slightly different perspective, represented an “enforcement only” approach to immigration that sought to find ways to verify people’s documentation status and to enforce or create new regulations on immigration. There was no perspective included among the nine people testifying that took a more comprehensive view of the issue of immigration, nor was there any debate amongst those testifying as they essentially backed the perspective of the Task Force. According to an aide for Representative Agema, those testifying were representatives of agencies whom the Task Force contacted to testify. The majority of the panelists specifically spoke in favor Representative Agema’s driver’s license bill that would require Michigan residents to prove citizenship or legal immigration status before being issued a license. After the nine scheduled panelists spoke, there were ten minutes for public comment. The hearing went over that time limit by about half-an-hour, but it was clear that the panel was not terribly interested in hearing the public’s opinion on the matter when it disagreed with their own assumptions.

All of those who waited to comment during the public comment period were opponents of Agema’s driver’s license law as well as the overall association of immigrants with terrorists. Members of the West Michigan Catholic community spoke in opposition to the criminalization of immigrants, urging the members of the Task Force to consult the website Justiceforimmigrants.org and the Michigan Catholic Conference’s position on immigration. Others told the Task Force that undocumented immigrants come to the United States seeking a better opportunity because they have no other recourse as the legal processes are inaccessible for those with the most need while urging the Task Force to investigate why people migrate to the United States. The Task Force heard from people who rejected the notion of equating of immigrants with terrorists, pointing out that the association creates a “lynch mob mentality” against undocumented immigrants. It was also asserted that the best place to deal with immigration is at the federal level, with one citizen reminding the panel that Agema opposed comprehensive immigration reform despite the fact that two heads of the Department of Homeland Security–Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff–have both said that it must be considered as pure law enforcement efforts are not enough.

While much of the scheduled testimony overlapped and included similar rhetoric about how to identify undocumented immigrants, the possibility that criminals are slipping through the cracks in the broken immigration system, and whether or not Michigan and local law enforcement officials could be empowered to enforce immigration law, there were two speakers that were particularly noteworthy. The first was Peter Gadiel, a man who said he was from Connecticut and who was representing the organization 9/11 Families for a Secure America. According to one of Agema’s staffers, a representative of 9/11 Families for a Secure America was specifically sought out because of “the role they have played in the debate” at the national level. Peter Gadiel, who represented the organization, said “people are dying at the hands of people here illegally” and went on a lengthy diatribe against illegal immigrants that repeatedly associated them with the 9/11 terrorists. He said that “drunk-driving illegal aliens” are killing people and that his son–who was killed in the 9/11 attacks–would be alive if the 9/11 terrorists would not have had driver’s licenses. He therefore endorsed Agema’s legislation while also calling for the law enforcement officials to enforce immigration law. At the national level, Gadiel’s organization has sought to address “the dangers of unsecured borders, visa waiver programs, loose standards for issuing drivers’ licenses, [and the] acceptance of matricular cards.” Gadiel’s comments were the harshest of the hearing, and it is therefore not surprising that his organization links to several far right entities on its website including the Federation for American Immigration Reform (Gadiel was also a FAIR board member) and other organizations associated with Michigan resident and major financier of the anti-immigrant movement John Tanton, as well as organizations such as Vdare.com and American Patrol–both of whom have been accused of racism by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Gadiel also recently spoke at an event in Morristown, NJ that was attended by neo-Nazis.

It is also worth noting that Representative Agema is listed as a member of 9/11 Families for a Secure America’s State Legislators for Legal Immigration project, along with Kalamazoo area representative Jack Hoogendyk. The State Legislators for Legal Immigration organization is circulating a petition calling for the “securing of our borders against unlawful invasion” and the denial of education, health, and welfare benefits for undocumented immigrations. In addition, the organization associates “illegal aliens” with “incidences of homicide, identity theft, property theft, serious infectious diseases, drug running, gang violence, human trafficking, terrorism and growing cost to taxpayers.” In response to this alleged threat–which functions as a threat against immigrants–the group is calling for state governments to deny public services to immigrants with the goal of ending the “illegal immigrant invasion” and thereby enacting a process that will result in “the illegal aliens returning to their home country of origin on their own volition.”

The other person that testified who was of interest was someone who was listed on the agenda only as “Mary Anne Van Dam.” Van Dam told a story about how her parents were “legal” immigrants from Mexico, that they worked in the blueberry fields, and that they ultimately became residents of the United States. This was a difficult process according to Van Dam, with constant effort required to keep their green cards current and difficulty in making sure that their children learned English. Van Dam ended her comments by stating that she supported Agema’s bill calling for a driver’s licenses to only be issued to citizens. However, Van Dam–and the rest of the Task Force–failed to acknowledge that far from being an unbiased source, she is Representative Agema’s “Campaign Manager.” Numerous news releases on Agema’s website list her as a contact and she is listed as Agema’s district contact person on the city of Grandville’s website. It seems unethical at best not to disclose this connection and at worst deliberately dishonest.

That the body would present a slate of speakers that advanced a fear of immigrants is not surprising given their past statements. Representative Agema has made “illegal immigration” a major issue and has sponsored a variety of legislation designed to make Michigan “a more difficult place for illegals to survive.” In a recent news release announcing his proposed driver’s license legislation, Agema said:

“The cost of not taking these safety precautions is great due to outside threats that can result in the potential loss of life. This move also can help the state with significant long-term savings by stopping the infiltration of illegal aliens, who add to Michigan’s education, welfare, health care, and prison costs and allow legal Michigan residents to keep jobs that otherwise would be hired out to illegals.”

Representative Dave Robertson, who denied a citizen’s charge that the Task Force had promoted “divisive” rhetoric–despite Robertson’s statement that “multiculturalism political correctness” is “anything but correct”–recently stated that “illegal immigration puts strain on Michigan’s public services and costs Michigan taxpayers millions in funding for these service (http://www.gophouse.com/readarticle.asp?id=4401&District=51).” No source was provided for his assertion.