An Open Letter to Del. Matt Lohr

Jeremy Aldrich -- October 23rd, 2007

I am a voter in Harrisonburg and I received your flyer about immigration in the mail today. Del. Lohr, I am deeply disappointed, not simply because of your stance on immigration, but because you seem to be ignoring some key facts and perpetrate some common fallacies.

In the flyer, you state that illegal immigration is “an injustice to immigrant [sic] who have followed the lawful path…” For most of the undocumented workers in our area, there is no legal way for them to come to the United States. There are only 5,000 visas available for unskilled workers in the entire US, but by many estimates there are more than 10 million undocumented workers in the US, and about 200,000 in Virginia. Most of these people are employed, so obviously there is an economic need for the labor they provide, yet they are unable to come legally to fill our labor needs. To me, this is a key piece to understanding our broken immigration system. Instead of complaining on behalf of the many educated or skilled immigrants who are easily able to get US visas, you should work to make it possible for our labor needs to match our immigration laws.

Your flyer also states that you support “removing incentives for illegal immigrants to settle in our communities.” What does this even mean? People come here because we have abundant jobs, good schools, beautiful surroundings, and a friendly population. Which of these incentives do you want to remove?

Your flyer says you oppose “sanctuary cities,” meaning localities that tell government workers not to ask about people’s immigration status (such as Fairfax County and Virginia Beach). These policies allow immigrant communities to have positive relationships with local police and other government officials, instead of being afraid of being punished for their immigration status when they report crimes, answer questions from the police, register their children for school, or seek medical help. By the way, I’ve personally been part of a situation in which a victim of crime in Harrisonburg was then reported to ICE for suspected “illegal” status – and it made me sick.

Even though none of the people you’re accusing of destroying our Commonwealth can vote against you, that doesn’t mean you should ignore facts and logic when making decisions.

There are already plenty of laws about illegal immigration in Virginia, and although I’m sure this is an issue you can get plenty of attention with, it’s not what I want my state lawmakers spending their time on.

You seem like a nice enough man. You make a good impression on us by going door to door, meeting your constituents. But this part of your public identity – the uninformed immigrant basher – is enough to turn me off from voting for you any time in the near future. I hope you will reconsider your positions on this issue. I heartily recommend the recent documentary “Latino Underground” from our local PBS affiliate to help catch you up on the background of this important issue.

60 Responses to “An Open Letter to Del. Matt Lohr”

  1. Gxeremio says:

    Dave, sorry you found my answers lacking. Not sure how much more clearly I could answer your questions. The “legal citation that requires [your] family or [you] to pay for medical bills incurred by [third parties]” is the tax code which sends your money to several medical care programs. The “statute which states that illegal aliens cannot be treated at our emergency rooms” doesn’t currently exist, and no one claims it has. But since it’s one of the few government services availabe to “illegal immigrants,” it’s fair to assume Matt Lohr would like to put it on the chopping block. Though he should be aware that similar attempts at the federal level have been rejected.

    Are there any followup questions, or just critiques of clear answers you don’t like as “non-responsive”?

  2. linz says:

    Dave, I have to admit I was proud to have incurred my first Briggman response to one of my comments. :) But yes, in answer to your question, I agree that those services are currently available to the general public and to clarify, I was expressing my concern over Lohr’s claims on the flyer which sounded to me like he is hoping to change the situation so there will be laws in the future preventing undocumented immigrants from receiving public services.

  3. andy says:

    You’re proud Linz? Dave called my comment “cute.” I can’t tell you how thrilled I was. I’ll never wash my keyboard again.

  4. Phil says:

    “From various sources, we have been 12 and 30 million illegals in the U.S., many of them want to take back the southwestern U.S. for their own. God knows what 30 million could do ARMED against this country from the inside if they wanted to.”

    Uh, yeah. Should I really take someone seriously who believes this stuff? This is conspiracy theory, pure and simple. There may be fringe elements who support “reconquista” or the “Nation of Aztlan”, but to say “many” is ridiculous. But it’s damn good propaganda to get the people good and skeered.

  5. Josh says:

    Editorial Observer
    What Part of ‘Illegal’ Don’t You Understand?
    Published: October 28, 2007

    “America has a big problem with illegal immigration, but a big part of it stems from the word `illegal.’ It pollutes the debate. It blocks solutions. Used dispassionately and technically, there is nothing wrong with it. Used as an irreducible modifier for a large and largely decent group of people, it is badly damaging. And as a code word for racial and ethnic hatred, it is detestable.”

  6. Dave Briggman says:

    Yeah buddy, the New York Times as source for news I would happily quote from . They can’t even tell the truth to their own ombudsman.

  7. finnegan says:

    “They can’t even tell the truth to their own ombudsman.”

    This coming from the guy who on May 19, 2007, cited an article in the Timaru Herald from New Zealand to prove a point about global warming.

  8. JGFitzgerald says:


    On Groucho’s “You Bet Your Life,” a duck would drop from the ceiling and, if memory serves, quack loudly, when a contestant said the magic word. This blog, apparently, has its own duck, but with more magic words — such as NewYorkTimes. (Try saying “pool manager” and see what happens.”)

    “Timaru and Timaru and Timaru
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day”

  9. andy says:

    Immediately following up on a question he posted to other hburg blog posters in this thread, David Briggman wrote above,

    “Damn, 2.5 hours of silence on that last question…you guys must be thinking really hard. I caution you though, when my 3 year old thinks hard, he sometimes forgets to go to the bathroom and ends up pooping in his pants.

    I don’t suggest that. ”

    It’s now nearly 100 hours since my following unanswered question to David was posted,

    “Don’t you realize you’re allowing your agenda to be set by the parties and by the media that carry thier messages unfiltered?”

    I hope you’ve changed your pants at least once since then.

  10. JGFitzgerald says:

    It’s an interesting comment on the nature of blogging when a frequent practitioner thereof says what he feels the maximum time spent thinking about a comment should be. I wonder what the minimum is.

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