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Agema confronted again on homophobic and anti-immigrant policies

March 3, 2012

Earlier today several people came to the Rainbow Grill in Grandville to express their outrage on the Representative’s stance on issues dealing with LGBT rights, immigration, workers rights and the disability community.

A sign is posted in the restaurant from Agema’s office notifying people of his monthly visit to the Rainbow Grill. The sign states, “Please come and share your thoughts and ideas about your community with Rep. Agema. He is looking forward to hearing your input.

Like last month, people sat down with Agema during his once-a-month-only opportunity that citizens have to engage him on critical issues. People went in pairs to sit down and talk to issues that they were passionate about, such as disability rights, immigration, domestic partner benefits and worker rights.

It was clear that he did not really want to listen to this group of people again, since he knew they were going to challenge him on his stance on critical issues. At one point, he even suggested to the restaurant manager that he move to the back room and meet with everyone waiting to talk to him so he, “didn’t have to listen to the same arguments over and over again.”

This writer told Agema about several immigrants he has been in relationship with, one who came to the US as a torture survivor and no documentation. This writer stressed that the reasons for people coming to the US are varied and immigration is a complex issue. “If we want to honestly address immigration we need to look at root causes, particularly economic policies such as NAFTA. Your position on immigration is punitive and hate filled. What we need is an immigration policy that is compassionate and humanizes the people who have come here seeking a better life.”

Agema kept stating that it was all about following the law and that security and job loss were his main concerns. Agema stated that Americans are losing out on finding jobs because of “illegals,” even though he could not product any credible sources to back him up. On the issue of security, he claimed that members of the Muslim Brotherhood were entering the US at the northern border with the intent of doing harm to this country. Again, he could provide no hard evidence other than looking at the website of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). FAIR is a White Supremacist group that the Southern Poverty Law Center has named as a hate group.

Other people challenged Agema on LGBT rights, such as domestic partner benefits and marriage equality. Again Agema wanted to just argue what the current Michigan Constitution says about marriage and told one person that if you want to get married as a gay couple “you will have to live outside the law.”

While some people sat and talked to Agema in the restaurant, others gathered outside to hold signs articulating the harm that Agema’s policies do.

After the Michigan Representative ended his 90-minute constituent meeting, he left the building and took a picture of the protestors. The protestors then followed him to his car chanting “Shame” and “Shame on you, Rep. Agema,” which you can see in the video here.

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