Monday, August 28, 2006

'Sensenbrenner fooled no one' in NH

Add the conservative Union Leader of Manchester, N.H. to the list of critics of Rep. F. Jim Sensenbrenner's immigration hearings. An editorial:

Can you hear us now? Congressmen needed to listen

THE U.S. HOUSE Judiciary Committee held what it called an "immigration field hearing" in Concord last Thursday. But about the only hearing being done was by the audience.

Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., said he was invited to Concord by Rep. Charlie Bass. Supposedly, the committee came to hear testimony about illegal immigration. In reality, it came to give testimony.

Of the five speakers, all were pre-selected by the committee and only one was from New Hampshire. Members of the public who showed up were not allowed to address the committee. When people applauded and cheered one speaker, Sensenbrenner informed them that they could be removed.

Clearly, this was no hearing, it was a traveling road show, a campaign event disguised as a public hearing.

Of course, Sensenbrenner fooled no one. The folks who showed up knew perfectly well what was going on. This is New Hampshire, after all.

We agree with the general point Sensenbrenner came here to make, which is that illegal immigration is a serious problem that must be brought under control. But he would have done better to have an actual public hearing instead of trying to trick the public into thinking they were getting one.

Next time, we hope he will remember that the people of New Hampshire are more politically savvy than he thinks. If members of Congress are going to come here to hold a "hearing," we expect that they will be the ones doing the listening.