Immigration Executive Order: Fortenberry Parrots Party Line

Click the image to view / download the email version statement, or view on Rep. Fortenberry's website

1st Congressional District Representative Jeff Fortenberry sent out a special statement, Thursday, November 20. Click the image to view / download the email version statement, or view on Rep. Fortenberry’s website

Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District Representative, Jeff Fortenberry, sent out a special statement1The statement was sent to subscribers of Congressman Fortenberry’s newsletter, The Fort Report, via email (see the embedded image), and posted on his Congressional website. late Thursday afternoon in anticipation of President Obama’s scheduled announcement of an explosive Executive Order which nullifies federal laws in an effort to benefit an entire class of illegal immigrants.

As a constituent, I do like the idea of my representative in Congress realizing the importance of an issue and taking the time to communicate with me and others about it. I should say I like it, as long as that communication clearly defines my elected official’s positions and intended actions so I know where he stands and what I can expect regarding what he will do. Otherwise, I’m inclined to question whether it’s sole purpose is to engender good will about the mere fact that he’s communicating.

Congressman Fortenberry’s November 20 remarks are disturbing for several reasons:

1 – He provided no commitment to take action to ensure that the President’s Executive Order will be blocked.

2 – He made plain that he’s misinterpreted the message sent by voters in the November 4 election, which means he will not act appropriately on immigration or any other issue going forward:

“If this last election was about any one thing, it was about the American people saying we should work together toward constructive solutions. No more divisiveness.”  

3 – He didn’t directly state that the President’s Executive Order is illegal, instead, he substituted allusive references that it is. Well, is it or isn’t, Congressman? As my mother used to say, he wants “to have his cake and eat it, too”.

4 – In brief mention of the impact of the President’s actions, Rep. Fortenberry spoke only of gross unfairness to legal immigrants and to the potential for more illegal immigrants, not to the impact on American citizens, let alone his constituents in particular.

The majority of voters on Election Day 2014, including those in Nebraska, understood what Rep. Fortenberry clearly does not. And President Obama’s announcement – especially his tone and demeanor in delivering it2I watched the President’s November 20 announcement live. I found his demeanor during particular statements remarkable, especially remarks referencing people who do/would oppose his action; he seemed very much to enjoy himself. This in contrast to what I believe are accurate descriptions about the President’s lack of animation or apparent distance in a number of circumstances. – merely affirms what those voters already knew.

As I wrote November 19:

“The message from voters November 4, 2014 was – STOP President Obama’s policies – by whatever (moral, ethical, and legal) means necessary. Apparently this message is inconvenient, because it’s already been misinterpreted into “end gridlock”, and ‘Work with Obama to get things done’.

We here at GiN would contend, if that’s what voters wanted, they would have elected more Democrats, who would very willingly work with the President.

Picture of President Barak Obama at the resolute desk, 2013

GOING IT ALONE: Before his Executive Order announcement, the President said, “I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own” but “I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.” What are we, what are our representatives to conclude? How must we and they now act?

Unknowingly, but quite correctly, we predicted Rep. Fortenberry’s erroneous interpretation, thereby making the concluding admonishment all the more applicable. Mr. Fortenberry must catch up. No matter how much he or any other member of Congress wishes to end divisiveness or to work together, they aren’t dealing with someone who has any desire to reciprocate.

Nebraska’s District 1 representative and other members of Congress must get beyond this inexplicable naiveté. Instead of expressing “sadness” at a breathtaking, lawless abuse of power, our representatives should respond with a commitment and firm resolve to take immediate, effective action.

If the Congressman’s conduct going forward matches the language of his message, he will be impotent – wrong premises result in wrong conclusions and impotent actions.

Perhaps Rep. Fortenberry needs to hear from his constituents:

EMAIL: Email contact form

In person, by letter, phone or fax:

Washington, DC Office
1514 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4808
Fax: (202) 225-5686
Lincoln Office
301 South 13 Street
Suite 100
Lincoln, NE 68508
Phone: (402) 438-1598
Fax: (402) 438-1604
Norfolk Office
125 S. 4th Street
Suite 101
Norfolk, NE 68701
Phone: (402) 379-2064
Fremont Office
P.O. Box 377
629 Broad Street
Fremont, NE 68026
Phone: (402) 727-0888
Fax: (402) 379-2101

Images & Graphics Sources

The images and graphics in this article were obtained from the following sources:

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, official photograph for the 113th Congress (2012-2013), public domain, source U.S. Government Printing Office

President Barack Obama at the “resolute desk” in the Oval Office, from the White House Flickr photostream, public domain

References & Notes   [ + ]

1. The statement was sent to subscribers of Congressman Fortenberry’s newsletter, The Fort Report, via email (see the embedded image), and posted on his Congressional website.
2. I watched the President’s November 20 announcement live. I found his demeanor during particular statements remarkable, especially remarks referencing people who do/would oppose his action; he seemed very much to enjoy himself. This in contrast to what I believe are accurate descriptions about the President’s lack of animation or apparent distance in a number of circumstances.

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