Conservative activism in Washington DC didn’t stop after the September 12th rally.
Tuesday and Wednesday, 47 radio hosts — led by Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) — gathered at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill to broadcast live for the 14th year of the “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event that has been dubbed as the “Town-hall of the airwaves.”
Radio hosts dedicated their broadcasts to issues of immigration enforcement by talking with immigration experts, media personalities, activists and politicians. In addition to several radio shows that air state and city wide, nationally syndicated hosts Lou Dobbs, Lars Larson, Doug Stephen, Steve Gill, Roger Hedgecock and Tom Hartman all broadcasted from rooms in the Phoenix.
Host Dan Rivers from WKBN in Ohio said it was his fifth year at “Hold Their Feet to the Fire.” Rivers just finished an on air interview with California Republican Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Brian Bilbray before he spoke with HUMAN EVENTS. Rivers said that members of Congress were all “giving the same message that the American public has decided to take this issue themselves as evidence of the tea parties last week.”
Host Lars Larson said, “We have had a lot of callers and had a lot of politicians come through but we have also been able to talk to a lot of groups from home states like Oregon who have come out here on their own dime and have gone door to door basically to their members of Congress to say to them we don’t want you to pass amnesty to illegal aliens.”
Larson told HUMAN EVENTS a group from nine constituents from Oregon had scheduled an appointment two months in advance to meet with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) while they were on Capitol Hill for “Hold Their Feet to the Fire,” only to find out that Wyden no longer had time to meet with them because he had too many other things going on.
FAIR is independent of the Sep. 12 gathering in D.C. and did not participate in the rally, said FAIR Communications Assistant Dustin Carnevale. He believes that they couldn’t correlate any of their energy to the tea partiers since their activists didn’t fly into Washington until Monday but that this is the largest gathering of hosts and guests that they have had and that their “activism component was huge this summer”.
FAIR made health care benefits a special focus in this year’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” but recognizes that radio shows are topical and other news issues have to be covered throughout broadcasts. Rivers said that most hosts were talking about over all immigration problems. “I don’t think that anyone really has the solution to the healthcare issue because they are already here, so how do you take care of them once they are here? But I think that people want to draw a line in the sand, and not invite more people to come here and take part in the healthcare plan,” said Rivers.
“I’ve had a number of experts tell me they don’t expect amnesty to come up for a vote and I’ve had others tell me that they do expect it to come up for a vote” Larson said. “The President said a couple months ago in Guadalajara, when he was down there visiting with the Mexican president, that he promised that there would be some path to citizenship — that he won’t call amnesty — this year.”
Many hosts and activists at “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” have credited Rep. Joe Wilson for highlighting the cause in the recent days. “Joe Wilson in two words managed to fire the country up and draw its attention to a key issue,” Larson told HUMAN EVENTS.
The Washington Independent reports that while at the Phoenix, ohst Lou Dobbs said, “Joe Wilson got a lot of people talking about the health care legislation in the context of illegal immigration.” Dobbs added, “I think he deserves great credit. There hasn’t been a backlash — quite the opposite.”