A Good Place to Start: Lee Zeldin, Town Hall Protests and a New Immigrant Amnesty Bill

Lee Zeldin and his protestors in Patchogue
Lee Zeldin and his protestors in Patchogue, Photos: Official US Congress, Linda McGregor

I got a piece of mail the other day, and in it there was this description of the political opponents of the person that sent it.

Protesters, who have pledged allegiance to the “indivisible guide” being funded and fueled by the far left nationally, were trying to rename and rebrand the event as a “town hall”. Unfortunately, this meeting was co-opted, renamed and rebranded by a group of liberal obstructionists who were already holding strategy meetings to turn it into a disruptive show for their own political theater.

Who do you think wrote this? Perhaps Putin, explaining a crackdown on some of his legislators?

Maybe Mugabe, the longtime dictator of Zimbabwe explaining how his opponents were infiltrating his government?

No, it came in an email from the communications director for our local Congressman, as she tried to explain why Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY), was cancelling a meeting with the general public at the Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton on April 13. A week earlier, an event in East Patchogue honoring Lee Zeldin was picketed by these protesters. Ahead of time, the leader of the protest says she called the police to be on hand to protect the protesters’ rights. Nobody was hurt, no damage was done to any property. Nobody was arrested. Citizens have a right to protest in America.

Nevertheless, because of this protest against our Congressman Lee Zeldin in East Patchogue, Mr. Zeldin is cancelling this meeting with his constituents 35 miles away in Southampton for fear that the same people, or perhaps other people, or perhaps even more than other people would show up to protest.

Jennifer DiSiena, this communications director, also took Dan’s Papers to task for not calling her for a comment first after we wrote and published a story expressing disgust of Mr. Zeldin for cancelling the Southampton appearance. If we had talked to her we’d have learned of the awfulness that Mr. Zeldin had endured, and would not permit himself to endure again.

DiSiena also gave me the names and phone numbers of three individuals who attended this event in East Patchogue. They would tell me more about what happened. I spoke to all three. They confirmed there had been no injuries, arrests or property damage at the event, but one of them said he and his wife had to endure the unsettling act of driving down the road between the protesters lining the sides of the street. His car had been punched by someone, he thought, without harming it. The third individual said a protester with a flashlight had for a few seconds shined it in his eyes while he was driving and inching along.

Lee Zeldin protestors in Patchogue
Lee Zeldin protestors in Patchogue, Photo: Linda McGregor

Mostly, they said, that unlike Zeldin or DiSiena, they didn’t mind the protest since it is legal to have one in America, but it was a shame they had to have this one because this was the Rotary’s biggest fundraiser of the year—they are all members of the local Rotary—and the fear of protest kept numerous attendees home, reducing the amount of money raised. All money collected by Rotary is given to charity—food pantries etc. Lee Zeldin was their “Man of the Year.”

The Indivisible Guide, by the way, is real. It was written as a national protest advisory for members of the Tea Party who wanted to know about how to “act up” while protesting against liberal politicians in America. No liberal politician that I know of refused to show up when those tactics were used against him or her. It’s part of the give and take of America.

Or is it just okay for the right to do this, but run for the hills if the left tries it? It is quite apparent now that President Trump wants no part of the tripartite system of our constitutional government. These checks and balances—the Legislative, the Judicial and the Executive—are the foundations of our democracy. The Congress legislates, the Court decides if it is legal and the president runs the government and wields a veto.

This president now is running the country by issuing edicts. He has usurped what the Congress is supposed to do, and he chastises and insults court judges.

Lee Zeldin, after enduring the reaction to the cancellation of his appearance in Southampton a month later, polled his constituents. The poll, which is still up, has five questions. Two were innocuous. The third was, “Do you believe a Congress should be a check and balance on President Trump or help President Trump pass his agenda?”

Mr. Zeldin, Congress has done no legislating whatsoever since President Trump came to power that I see. It’s laid down like a rug to be trampled upon by this president. In Russia, there’s a legislature that does that. Here, there is not supposed to be. Do your job. This is not even a question you should have to ask.

Here’s a good place to start. Sponsor a bill to provide amnesty to any illegal immigrant who can prove he has been in America for more than two years without being convicted of a felony. It would be a one-time amnesty, available only to those people without papers who are already here. People availing themselves of this would be issued a two-year work permit so they could pay taxes on the money they make. Then, if they complete the two years without a felony, they would be entitled to a green card. The law would not apply to anyone who came in illegally after the date the law went into effect. It would be a one-time thing only.

There is considerable precedent for this kind of law. For instance, there is already a law where a convicted felon can, five years further on, apply to have the arrest, conviction and time served expunged–but only if he or she has had a clean record since the legal action happened. It’s as if it never happened. All traces in the books of what they did is gone. They get on with their lives.

I am sure there are many Republicans who will be happy to tighten immigration laws into America, deport bad guys back to where they came from, but not put up with this heartless, disgusting, un-American presidential order to send law abiding families of long standing back out of the country along with the rest.

And find a Democrat to co-sponsor this bill with you.

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