Marshall, MN – Cafe Con Leche Republicans is pleased to support Lee Byberg for Congress from Minnesota’s Seventh Congressional District.
We like Lee Byberg’s background as a leader with real world business experience, and his background as a New American. Lee was born in the U.S. of Norwegian missionary parents, and grew up in Paraguay, Brazil, and Norway, giving Lee exposure to political and economic systems ranging from far right (Paraguay) to Democratic left-leaning (Norway), as his life experiences across the globe provide unique perspective on immigration, assimilation, etc.
Lee studied at the University of Minnesota, where he earned a bachelor of science and a masters in business management (MBA). Lee’s background in private industry, first as a CPA for a Big Six CPA firm, an economist for Phillips Petroleum Company, and many years as an executive of Willmar Poultry/Life-Science Innovations, will serve him well in Congress. Congress is severely lacking in members who have a strong background in economics and private industry. In particular, Lee’s background in agribusiness is important for the 7th CD, which is heavily agricultural. Lee’s book “Builders of Our Land” shows he fully believes in free market capitalism with reasonable regulations, and limited government, and his values align well with those of his constituents.
Lee favors a broad overhaul of legal immigration and guest worker system to better meet the needs of our economy and address illegal immigration. Lee is opposed to amnesty, and in our discussions with Lee we were impressed with his common sense approach to problem solving, and do not believe he favors a ‘band aid’ approach to fixing legal immigration.
Lee’s opponent, incumbent Collin Peterson, has recently flooded the local media with costly slick TV ads, talking about how Minnesotans are independent, and quoting Peterson “We say what we mean and do what we say. I’m a straight shooter.”
Peterson is anything but a “straight shooter.” For example, Peterson says he voted against ObamaCare, but fails to mention that since then he has voted against repealing ObamaCare, which means he’s now in favor of ObamaCare though initially he voted against it. That lie was not missed by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, which decided not to endorse Peterson this election though they have often endorsed Peterson.
Peterson likes to present himself as a ‘Blue Dog Democrat with an independent streak.’ However, the term ‘blue dog Democrat’ is nothing more than a marketing invention for Democrats from conservative districts to claim they are conservative, even when they often support a liberal agenda.
Peterson’s web site states “I oppose amnesty for illegal aliens.” However, Peterson’s immigration record is ‘all over the map.’ In 2005 Peterson sponsored the Ag-Jobs Bill, HR 884, which would provided amnesty to unauthorized immigrant farm workers without requiring any fines or other penalty. HR 884 would have provided unauthorized farm workers with job protection not provided to citizens and legal immigrants, who in most states can be fired for ‘any reason or no reason’ (at-will employment).
As pro-immigrant Republicans, we support sensible immigration reforms, but any path to legalization must strike a balance between accountability and fairness to legal immigrants and citizens, while avoiding damage our economy and ripping apart mixed status families. Not imposing penalties such as fines is amnesty, which is corrosive to the ‘rule of law.’
Peterson’s use of the term “illegal aliens” on his web site is offensive to many, and a recent Fox News poll found nearly half of registered Latino voters find even the less harsh term “illegal immigrant” offensive. Some consider the term “illegal alien” a code word for Hispanic, though more than 80% of Hispanics are either citizens or legal immigrants. On the one hand, Peterson panders to Nativists on his web site, while on the other hand Peterson sponsored amnesty legislation to pander to big agriculture interests.
Peterson showed he’s no friend of Latinos by supporting HR 6095, a bill giving state and local police ‘inherent authority’ to enforcement immigration law, without requiring training or providing safeguards against racial profiling. Current federal law (287(g)) already provides for immigration enforcement by police, provided that police undergo intensive training in immigration law, background checks, and supervision by ICE, to help prevent abuses such as racial profiling. Recent studies show that in jurisdictions where police became heavily involved in immigration enforcement, Latinos are up to nine times more likely stopped for traffic infractions, more likely arrested than cited for minor traffic infractions, and complaints by law abiding Latinos are already widespread nationwide.
Peterson also voted for House Amendment 969, which would deny public education to undocumented immigrants. While we don’t support or condone illegal immigration, putting any children out of school and onto streets is never a wise idea. The U.S. Supreme Court long ago found such laws unconstitutional under the 14th amendment.
Peterson doesn’t seem to grasp that illegal immigration is an economic problem requiring a major overhaul of legal immigration to ensure our system aligns well with the needs of our economy. A band aid approach will simply not work, and we believe Lee Byberg will work on practical solutions to address illegal immigration in part through better enforcement but also by reforming legal immigration to better address the needs of our economy. We don’t see that in Collin Peterson’s record.
85% of Peterson’s campaign funds come from outside Minnesota, mostly from core Democrat constituencies such as labor unions, trial lawyers, as well as big corporate agriculture interests, which brings into question whether Peterson works for his district, or is a creature of big agribusiness and labor unions.
Worse still, Collin Peterson’s campaign is identified as ‘at risk’ of fraudulent credit card contributions or foreign donations by the Government Accountability Institute. There’s an unfolding scandal where it appears the Obama campaign may have received massive infusions of illegal foreign contributions. Peterson needs to immediately cease accepting credit card donations without the security code, block incoming web traffic from outside the U.S., and return any illegal foreign contributions already made.