Media, Austin history discussed at immigration forum

Published 11:07 am Friday, September 19, 2008

There were mirrors, but no smoke at Thursday night’s forum on immigration issues at Oak Park Mall.

Less than 30 people attended the forum in the mirrored community meeting room.

The two-hour session began with the playing of a video, which most people ignored.

When Ron Branstner, representing Minnesota Coalition for Immigration Reduction (MCFIR) began his presentation, he attacked the media for biased reporting.

Despite brandishing newspaper clippings showing Austin’s support for addressing open borders issues from USA Today and other papers, Branstner specifically accused the Austin Daily Herald of failing to accurately report the activities of MCFIR in Austin.

“They do not want you to know what’s going on,” Branstner said.

The MCFIR spokesman gave examples, including an Albert Lea Tribune newspaper report, mentioning a victim who named “Hispanic men” as suspects in a robbery. “When the same story was submitted to the Austin Daily Herald, they did not run it,” he said.

Then, he pointed out a letter to the editor of the Austin Daily Herald, which Branstner said was “censored” and not printed in its entirety.

More separation of fact from fiction by Branstner continued.

Branstner alleged the media’s use of the word “newcomers” was an attempt to hide usage of “immigrants” or “illegals.”

When he halted his — there was no comment from the audience — discussion of media mistakes, he remembered the forum had failed to start with the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag.

When that was done, Branstner began a “discussion of economic and social effects” with a well-known fact. “In 1930, Austin led the nation in home-occupancy; that is, people who owned their own homes,” he said of a distinction referred to repeatedly in Austin history books.

According to Branstner, foundations have a hidden agenda and that is to support open borders to allow American industries and businesses a ready supply of “cheap labor.”

The 1985-86 labor dispute and strike at Hormel Foods Corporation facilities resulted, in part, with the need for “cheap labor.”

He quickly spun off charges Apex Austin was created to assist “cheap labor” in coming to Austin.

That, the more than 700 Austin citizens who participated in the Blandin Foundation’s Community Leadership Program, were “brainwashed” into supporting the movement toward cultural diversity.

“It gets kind of complicated,” Branstner understated his lecture at one point.

No one disagreed.