The Racine Journal Times ran an article about a liberal, pro-immigration Hispanic organization called "Voces de la Frontera", who staged a small protest outside the Racine office of Congressman Paul Ryan. Last month, Paul Ryan conducted a radio interview, hosted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), where he took questions about health care reform and the Green Bay Packers. The event called "Hold Their Feet to the Fire" was designed to remind Congress about the hot button issues of immigration reform, amnesty, free health care for illegals.
La Frontera was outraged by Ryan's attendance at the event. They consider FAIR to be a hate group funded by white supremacist groups. So in retaliation, they organized two Racine high-school groups, one called "Students United for Immigration Rights" and another called "Students United in the Struggle" to protest outside of Ryan's office.
One of the students, Christian Pacheco, said
"As a Latino student it is insulting to me that Rep. Paul Ryan would provide an interview to FAIR, a group with known ties to white supremacists."
Well, Christian, as a Latino of Mexican-American heritage, I'm insulted that you're using your Latino ethnicity as a catalyst for protesting a good and fair man before gathering all of the facts. Here is a little suggestion that might help when you grow up and eventually go to college; it would behoove you to double-check your facts before you participate in a protest outside a congressman's office.
For instance, did you bother too call Ryan's office and simply ask why he participated in the interview? Did the fact that Ryan's interview involved health care reform and the Green Bay Packers tip you off that maybe, just maybe Ryan didn't participate in the interview to discuss immigration reform, and neither did he actually attend FAIR's "Hold Their Feet to the Fire" rally?
Ryan later released a statement saying he did not know that the interview was hosted by FAIR; and he asked FAIR to scrub his name from their website attendance sheet. Why? Because Ryan never attended the rally. And of course, FAIR complied with Ryan's wishes.
This whole debacle got me thinking. If it were Russ Feingold that gave the radio interview, would La Frontera have staged the protest outside his office before checking first to see why or if Feingold attended the event? My intuition tells me that they might have, out of sheer liberal generosity, at least called his office first.
Christina Neumann-Ortiz, director of Voces de la Frontera, said she was pleased by Ryan's statement enunciating that he did not signify support for FAIR. Well, I'm glad to see that she was pleased. I wonder though, if she would have been just as pleased if she had picked up the phone and called Ryan before organizing a public protest, which in some part, served to tarnish Ryan's good name. Correct me if I'm wrong, but La Frontera had almost a month to double-check their facts, did they not? I would be pleased if La Frontera had offered Congressman Ryan an apology for jumping to conclusions.
We'll see if La Frontera has any explanation for their actions in the next few days.