October 17, 2011
by Ilya Gerner
This weekend, Michele Bachmann delivered her message on immigration policy the only way she knows how: with all the subtlety of a jackhammer. More precisely, the subtlety of a jackhammer to be used in the construction of a "date certain, secure double fence across the entire US border with Mexico prior to the end of 2013."
Speaking in Perry, Iowa — see what she did there! — a town whose population is approximately one-third Latino, Bachmann pledged to continue demonizing the people who have "taken" America's most desirable meatpacking plant jobs so that their children might have a chance at an education…
"She castigated a Texas law that allows illegal immigrants under certain circumstances to pay in-state tuition at colleges and universities — a policy Perry has said he supports. Such a policy deprives citizens of opportunities, she said, and acts as a "magnet" drawing illegal immigrants into the country…
"Bachmann signed the pledge, circulated by recently established nonprofit group Americans for Securing the Border, to build a double fence along the entire border by 2013.
"The group is grassroots and citizen-funded and aims to promote political action over rhetoric, said Chairman Van D. Hipp Jr."
Of course, "illegal immigrants" are "illegal" in the sense that they committed a civil misdemeanor, not a criminal offense, when crossing the border without inspection. But in the interest of fairness, I should defer to Van D. Hipp Jr. on this question, since he appears to have much more first-hand experience with the justice system than I can claim…
"Former [South Carolina] state Republican Chairman Van D. Hipp Jr., who was sentenced Monday to five years' probation and fined $5,000 for accepting illegal campaign contributions, said he would be crazy to return to politics. "I told my family if they see me going to a precinct meeting they have the right to have me committed to a mental institution," said Hipp…"
"In return for the guilty plea, the government dismissed a 14-count fraud and money laundering indictment stemming from operation of a phone sex business.
"That indictment alleged Hipp recruited people to open merchant credit card accounts to process credit card charges for B.C. Services of Mount Pleasant, a phone sex provider."
Well, as long as he's paid his debt to society (house arrest, probation, and 200 hours of community service), I suppose we can trust Hipp with setting the nation's border security agenda. I mean, there's also the issue of Hipp being chairman of American Defense International, Inc., a Washington D.C.-based lobbying firm that represents dozens of construction and contracting firms who could benefit from a massive government contract to build the fence, but what's a conflict of interest or two between friends?