“I too reject the Laura Ingraham version of what happened in this important committee meeting,” a prominent Kansas activist said in email to his fellow Republicans. The activist was referring to the roasting of Rep. Kevin Yoder on air and on Twitter by the popular Fox News TV personality Laura Ingraham.
The Sentinel quotes this activist, a serious conservative, at some length given his insider knowledge and ability to say what the congressman cannot. Several other prominent local activists in his email chain agree with his assessment, thus the “too.”
The subject at hand is immigration. In her “Angle” commentary, Ingraham blasted Yoder and other Republicans on his committee for appearing to submit to Democratic pressure on immigration reform.
“The committee meeting [Yoder] chaired was full of amendments to the bill from the whack-job democrats wanting totally open borders, abolish ICE, instant asylum club, and other test-the-limits-of-sovereignty craziness,” the activist continued. The committee in question is the Homeland Security Appropriation Committee.
“Chair Yoder,” said the activist, “along with Republican members, beat back all challengers. The one amendment the Democrats proposed that was allowed to pass was a provision to help abused women into the system. The calculated reason for this was because the Democrats once-again tried to gin-up the ‘war on women’ campaign tactic for the midterm elections.”
Tweeted Ingraham, “If US asylum law going forward (as
@RepKevinYoder demands) allows in anyone claiming to flee criminal threat, prepare for U.S. to be flooded with millions of new asylum immigs.” Ingraham obviously has a point.
But then again, so does the activist. “The committee felt it was better to allow this amendment to pass to show compassion to abused women, and take another talking point away from the wackos in the fall elections,” he observed.
“Everyone on this email trail understands that legislation like sausage-making is sometimes ugly,” he continued. “I believe that congressman Yoder exercised prudent judgement, doing the right thing, the right way, for the right reasons.”
From the Sentinel’s perspective, this is one of the rare political moments where everyone involved has a legitimate case to make. Yoder knows that asylum seekers and their allies will do everything they can to exploit whatever loopholes exist.
Yoder acknowledged as much in his response to the flak he received from Ingraham and other immigration activists. “Let me be clear,” he posted on Twitter and Facebook on Friday. “I do not support catch and release and I believe we must quickly return individuals making false asylum claims back to their country of origin.”
As diplomatically as possible, Yoder explained his position going forward, “There have been concerns raised about amendments that were adopted into our bill regarding asylum. These concerns are legitimate and I am committed to continuing to work with the President and the administration to fix this as our bill moves forward and ensure that any loopholes are closed and that we have strong and humane enforcement of all of our immigration laws.”
Yoder is no fool. He did not get elected four times in the marginally Republican 3rd District–Hillary carried it in 2016–by grandstanding on controversial issues. His claim that he helped assemble “the strongest border security package this committee has ever presented before Congress” is likely true. The package includes “$5 billion in new border walls that will stretch across 200 miles.”
Immigration hawks were right to push back on the package’s obvious weakness. Yoder got the message.
The hawks are wrong, however, to ignore political realities and assume the worst of Kevin Yoder. Politics is a team sport. For Ingraham to say that Yoder is “selling out the Trump agenda for his reelection in a close race” is to admit she knows little about Kansas politics and nothing about Kevin Yoder.