|Steve Lonegan Big Talker…Even Bigger Hypocrite
by Steve Adubato, Ph.D.
Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan gives new meaning to the word hypocrite.
Lonegan is a guy with a lot to say about illegal immigration. The
former statewide candidate rails against federal immigration policies
and has tried to get McDonalds to take down a Spanish language billboard
in his town. Lonegan also unsuccessfully tried to make English the
official language of Bogota and has said many other bold and controversial
things about the subject of immigration.
In several published accounts in The Record newspaper, Lonegan
offers these gems:
“Any immigration whatsoever that violates the laws of this
country should not be tolerated. We’ve now allowed America
to become a free-for-all.”
And, “We have people violating our border and elected officials
are afraid to stand up to the far left. It takes a lot of courage
to stand up on this issue…”
That was just the beginning of Lonegan’s crusade against
anyone who is in this country without proper documentation and any
public official who aids and abets such efforts. When your rhetoric
is so bold and strident, you get a lot of media attention, and Steve
Lonegan has had his share, both at the state and national level—especially
for the mayor of a tiny North Jersey town who got an embarrassing
number of votes when he tried to run throughout New Jersey.
But Steve Lonegan is a big talker who knows how to get big press.
But now comes the really ironic part of this story. A few weeks
ago, Lonegan got nailed for hiring two illegal immigrants to put
together some signs for his organization called “Americans
for Prosperity.” Interestingly the signs said “Stop
Higher Taxes: Vote ‘No’ on All Ballot Questions.”
The two guys Lonegan hired were picked up by the Bogota police
when one of the mayor’s neighbors called to report two Hispanic
men on a property owned by Lonegan, where the signs were being constructed.
It was later found that Mr. Lonegan had offered to pay the illegal
workers $80 each for their efforts. Lonegan says he asked the guys
if they were American citizens and they responded “Si”.
Lonegan never actually asked to see any citizenship documentation.
That sounds kind of odd for a guy whose entire public reputation
is a product of his vehement and very vocal opposition to the serious
illegal immigration problem in our state and nation.
Hypocritical? Obviously. Embarrassing? No doubt. But oh, how ironic.
And get this—In spite of the absurdity of the situation, Steve
Lonegan’s initial response was to say that the Bogota police
had “racially profiled” the two men—even though
all the cops did was following up on a neighbor’s complaint
about two guys hanging around Lonegan’s property. Clearly
the cops and the neighbor were worried about a potential crime.
Later Lonegan said the police were targeting him because of an
ongoing municipal dispute involving a fight with the police union
over benefits. Said Lonegan; “This is a racial profiling issue,
because I won't give them [Bogota cops] lifetime medical benefits…They
[the officers] had only one reason to go onto my property, and that's
because [the workers] were Hispanic…”
Steve Lonegan gives new meaning to the word “chutzpah.”
Look, let’s be honest about this. There is an American obsession
with cheap labor. Many Americans get our lawns cut, our meals served
to us and sometimes even our children cared for by workers whose
official American citizenship is highly questionable. Landscapers,
restaurant owners and private citizens often hire workers who aren’t
citizens because it is cheaper.
Steve Lonegan did the same thing when he hired a couple of guys
hanging out in Palisades Park, in an area that is known to attract
illegal immigrants looking for day work. The only difference is
that Lonegan says people who are neither legal nor documented American
citizens are killing our state and country. Yet, he has no problem
hiring those same workers to put together some signs without making
the slightest effort to confirm their citizenship. Then when he
gets nailed for it, he makes some asinine comments about “racial
profiling” and tries to make himself a victim.
Lonegan’s lame excuses only make an embarrassing situation
more embarrassing. The fact that he can’t figure that out
is pretty dumb. This is the classic “do as I say not as I
do” approach. Steve Lonegan is just another loudmouth archconservative
on the immigration issue who has no credibility left at this point
and then a big “WANTED: Legal American citizens looking to
do some honest labor putting signs together that say ‘Steve
Lonegan big talker…even bigger hypocrite.’”
Steve Adubato, Ph.D. is a commentator, lecturer and former state
legislator. Dr. Adubato is also an Emmy Award-winning television
anchor and syndicated columnist.
He can be reached by fax (973) 509-1659 or by clicking