Constituents crowd Hultgren office with concerns about Trump's orders
The upheaval caused by President Donald Trump's recent executive orders resulted in more than 60 concerned constituents on the doorstep of congressman Randy Hultgren's Campton Hills office Tuesday. Only two of them made it any further.
The line of people, some holding lists of questions for Hultgren, stretched from the office door, down a staircase and out into the parking lot.
The Campton Hills Police Department sits on the other side of that narrow lot, and Chief Daniel Hoffman told the crowd they would not all be allowed into the building where Hultgren leases space because it's not a public area.
"I'm being friendly," Hoffman told the crowd. "I'm very nice. I'm not taking sides."
Hultgren staffer Beth Goncher met the constituents outside the office door. She let them know she'd meet with no more than two people representative of the crowd so as not to overburden the tight quarters of the district office.
"He wants to hear from you," Goncher told the crowd. "It's a priority for him. He wants to talk to you."
Once inside, Geneva resident Bill Scown and Batavia resident Howard Miller spent about 15 minutes with Goncher in a conference room that barely fit six chairs.
"People are very concerned about President Trump," Scown told a nodding Goncher. "He has no understanding of his limited powers under the Constitution. He shows no discipline. We feel it's our Congress' duty to address an out of control president. We want to know that Mr. Hultgren will protect the Constitution and protect our rights."
Specifically, Scown pointed Trump's recent ban on immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations as unconstitutional. Miller, an armed services veteran, said preventing Muslims who are non-U.S. citizens who helped U.S. military efforts in the Middle East is "a disgrace."
Hultgren released a statement Monday calling the ban "overly broad" with an "inconsistent and confused" interpretation. Hultgren said he supports efforts to review immigration screening processes to strengthen them. However, he said the process to vet refugees is "already extensive and thorough."
Miller said Hultgren's statement was "weak" and didn't go far enough.
"He didn't stand up and say it's immoral, illegal, and we should ban it," Miller said.
The constituents also called on Hultgren to make his position known on various presidential cabinet appointments, especially those involving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the education department.
"Will the congressman stand up and protect the environment?" Miller asked. "Will he stand up for public schools?"
Goncher said Hultgren does plan on hosting a town hall shortly. The staff has not set the time and place for such a public meeting, she said. Goncher pledged to call every one of the constituents who came to the office Tuesday and make separate appointments to listen to their concerns if need be.
"We will always be available," she said. "What we're asking if that they make an appointment. If they give us a heads up on the topic, we can have a little bit more information to share with them."