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Jim Robb, Vice President, Operations, NumbersUSA

Jim Robb, VP Operations

The setting? The Marriott convention hotel in the fashionable Dupont Circle district of Washington, D.C. Date? June 15, 2009. Participants? A coalition of big-business oriented, pro-Open Borders dedicated groups, corporations, and lobbyists. Organizer? Tamar Jacoby and her newly-formed ImmigrationWorksUSA lobbying group.

The doors were closed. Reporters and members of the public barred. Confidence that their words were private and their plans secret loosened the tongues of most speakers. Embarrassing admissions were made. Several preposterous claims were forwarded. Numerous shameful methods and motivations admitted to.

The "Storming the Hill National Summit" was predictable in its "backstab the workers" sentiment. Nonetheless, the following makes for some fascinating reading. One of the attorneys present took copious notes and turned up with a conscience. We got the notes.

Following is a very detailed summary by a repentant attorney of how big business leaders, working with the immigration lawyers, plan on ramming an Illegal Alien Amnesty down the throat of Americans before we know what hits us.

Throughout this previously-unpublished summary, I'll tag on some clearly marked comments. And now, the Report from our lawyer-with-a-conscience:

Report from ImmigrationWorksUSA National Summit: "Storming the Hill"

"There can be no hope of mobilizing these lawmakers without vocal support from employers who hire immigrants" was general theme of "Storming the Summit."

Debbie Marriott Harrison

Debbie Harrison

Speakers seem to go between saying that:

(A) We need the workers now to revitalize the economy now, or
(B) We need to get ready to bring in workers when the economy turns around.

The welcome is by Deborah Marriott Harrison, who is granddaughter of the Marriott Hotels founder and V.P. Government Relations for the chain.

She announced that her dad is willing to speak on behalf of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. [CIR, big-business style, is defined later in this report.] She repeats the mantra that the "system is broken."

 

Tamar Jacoby

Tamar Jacoby

Tamar Jacoby, recognized as organizer of the conference and head of new business-backed "ImmigrationWorksUSA" group. Her remarks:

We are having the conference because we failed last time [to pass amnesty in 2007] and we must change. We did none of the things the opposition did. Opponents sent over a million faxes. We need to learn to leverage grass roots power. The basic goal is to promote the free flow of labor into the USA. This issue, immigration, is the top of the second tier of issues. Politicians are asking themselves if there will be public support.

(FROM JIM ROBB) Let me recap, Tamar. NumbersUSA's members send faxes to Congress, and this reminds Congress that the "free flow of labor into the U.S.A." may not be well accepted by the millions of unemployed Americans. How frustrating for you!

Will immigration reform move this year?

 

Marshall Fitz

Marshall Fitz

Marshall Fitz, American Immigration Lawyers Association, made these remarks:

We have a chance this year. The election of Obama was a game changer. The Latino electoral power is a sleeping giant that is now awake. The 2008 election reflected 3 million more Latino voters than in 2004. Latinos went 67 to 31, Obama to McCain. Other minorities were strong for Obama.

(FROM JIM ROBB) Is the point of bringing in more illegal workers to promote the "free flow of labor?" Or is it to build an unstoppable voting block?

Immigrant bashing tarnished the Republicans. Democrats will nail down the Latino segment with passage of immigration reform. Anti-immigrant candidates were overwhelmingly defeated. Republicans need something other than a massive deportation strategy. Lou Barletta and Brian Bilbray should be marginalized voices. Voters, especially independent voters, are tired of demagoguery.

The Obama election points to Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The argument that Obama has to win the economic crisis first is a red herring. Great studies have been done that show CIR promotes economic reform/recovery. Immigrants create jobs, create economic growth.

Making undocumenteds legal taxpayers wins with Americans, 71% to 30%. We tested the American electorate and what irritated them is that illegals don’t pay taxes. So we adjusted the message. Since Nov 2008 the support for CIR has increased by 8 or 9 %. The electorate wants solutions, they want accountability of immigrants by employers and they want the Gov’t to solve the problem.

 

 Craig Regelbrugge

Craig Regelbrugge

Craig Regelbrugge, American Nursery and Landscape Association Government Affairs Director, gave these remarks:

The rules have switched. We will start with the House and not the Senate.

(FROM JIM ROBB) Starting with the House will be news to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who tells all who will listen that the Senate will have to take the lead on any Amnesty, if there is to be one.

Rugelbrugge: Must have both Democrats and Republicans to move any bill. Agriculture Jobs and DREAM Act [i.e., citizenship to everyone who claims to be under 35] are popular remaining building blocks. "Fierce nativist (sic) opposition is inevitable. Business must engage if we are to succeed."

The Enemy is organized. They are well-funded/ well-organized with significant grassroots. Will oppose all the business agenda. Mentions the horseshoe and says that it converges with xenophobes and population concern people. Speaker paints picture that Business is not organized.

Blue Dogs [i.e., Congressional moderate Democrats] are a growing force—important caucus. Rep. Heath Shuler is strident but he does not represent the caucus. The opposition is aging, has time, lives in areas where changes are happening—they will often make multiple phone calls in one day. I have reports from staffers in offices who will say that NumbersUSA people just left and they are kind of spooky.

Rugelbrugge: The contacts to most offices are staggeringly in favor of anti-immigration. We want to build a communication apparatus to balance out the anti-immigrants. Our side will never have the passion level. NumbersUSA has had twenty years to organize.

(FROM JIM ROBB) Obviously, Regelbrugge and the rest of these speakers are terrified by NumbersUSA. Obsessed is not too strong a word. I would almost feel sorry for these guys if I didn't know that their aim was to clear the way for firing more Americans in order to replace them with cheaper foreign workers.

Regelbrugge: America wants fairness on tax paying. Anti-immigrant side has done well saying that they are not paying taxes and they are taking benefits. So "requiring them to be legal taxpayers" gets a quick 20% bump in the polls.

NumbersUSA and FAIR are funded by a couple of deep pocket donors.

(FROM JIM ROBB) Actually, NumbersUSA has tens of thousands of small donors. These ordinary citizens supply the biggest portion of our funding. 100% of our faxing and website activities are paid for by small donors! Also, our members are not concentrated in "affected" areas,as Regelbrugge suggests. NumbersUSA has members in every American county. The deep-pocket donors overwhelmingly give to the pro-amnesty groups.

What does business want in a bill?

Angelo I. Amador, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, spoke:

Anecdotes are helpful, such as "Stalwart soldier on our side." Or, "I can’t get enough cooks and dishwashers." Chamber is opposed to some version of a "commission."

Ben Johnson, American Immigration Law Foundation, made this statement:

 

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson

Tell the story that the American labor force, for the most part, has been filled with people who came here and filled gaps in the labor market. People follow jobs and then the jobs follow the people. Tell of the dynamism that comes from having an open labor supply. We need to celebrate the open labor supply.

We are educating our kids to do non-low end jobs, but we are still creating jobs at the low end. Suggested that a book by Doug Massey, says that many getting green cards really do not intend to stay in the US—they are here temporarily to get the money to do something back home.

(FROM JIM ROBB) This hilarious multi-part lie suggests that the real problem is that Americans are just too educated. Therefore, Johnson suggests, what America really needs is more uneducated people! We'll just import 'em!

Dan Griswold, CATO Institute:

There is a structural mismatch between supply and demand. Lists a lot of job needs. 2.9 million more jobs in next some period of time. Key to reform is to create a workable temporary worker program. Immigration is self limiting. Wants worker mobility, as easy as crossing the street. Thinks Big Labor is making a big mistake by opposing guest workers.

Jason LaVecke

Jason LaVecke

Jason LeVecke, who owns 130 restaurants and convenience stores and is grandson of Carl’s Jr. founder, spoke. He made a long, written-out, speech strong on rhetoric and images.

We forget that these workers are also consumers. Talks about sanctuary cities being good. Argues that most are paid above the minimum wage, often Union wages, plus are paying taxes. Mentions privacy issues as reason to not check IDs—not the kind of America we want. If we do this right, we can eliminate poverty in 20 years.

(FROM JIM ROBB) Love how the hamburger king figures on eliminating poverty in 20 years by replacing American workers with illegal aliens. This strategy has worked miracles on California, where Carl's Jr. is strongest, don't you think?

LeVecke says that about 20% of his expenses are for low skill labor—spends much more on high skill workers. No definitions offered. Mentions Center for Immigration Studies links unemployment and African Americans.

But Johnson says: African Americans are doing well where there are high immigration rates. CIS, he says is only a temporary advocate of low wage African Americans. We are essentially not working with temporary worker permits, except for H2 A and B. The Flaw of the 1986 Act was the failure to have a temporary worker program.

(FROM JIM ROBB) Would love to do a snap poll of African Americans to find out how many agree with the statement that they "are doing well where there are high immigration rates."

Amador: The U.S. needs to give Mexico something so they will stop the illegal flow. Right now Mexico isn’t getting anything.

Griswold: Native born do not have the option of leaving, but immigrants can respond and leave.

Question from floor: "How are we going to sell this, that we need guest workers, in a down economy?" He is going to meet with Senator Cornyn. Suggests that there need to be incentives to hire Americans. That is, employer must pay a tax on the visa plus need Mandatory ID for anyone who does not have a valid SSN.

Griswold says failure rate of E-verify will result in thousands of Americans being refused in Congressional Districts every month. He hopes they call their Congressman.

(FROM JIM ROBB) This statement is closer to a lie than to wrong opinion. E-Verify is already mandatory for state agencies and/or contractors in nine states, and mandatory for every employer in three additional states. The predicted error leading to disruptions have not occurred. In fact, not one case has ever been found of E-Verify saying an American should be refused a job.

Texas Cattle Association representative in audience — convinced that illegals do pay taxes — but must be able to convince Senator John Cornyn [R-TX]. Thinks that the tools and statistics do not overcome the perception that illegals and immigrants do not pay taxes.

Amador: 75 to 80% of illegals are on the books [i.e., illegally taking otherwise legal jobs].

Griswold says: We have to be intellectually honest. Low-skilled workers, no matter their immigration status, do not pay taxes in excess of their fiscal imposition, immigrant or otherwise. But we forget about the benefits of their children. Says Mike Pence idea was attractive; have illegals quietly exit and leave and then get a Visa and come back. For the lobbying effort, do not mention Amnesty.

Two fellows from a consulting firm started a site for a client, TexasGOPVote.com, which discusses three main Republican issues that will be readily accepted by conservatives. Then, the fourth subject is immigration. They explained that the idea is to get GOP’ers to look at the stuff with which they likely already agree and then look at the immigration stuff and be more receptive since they already trust the web site.

Jim Kolbe

LaVecke introduces former Arizona Representative Jim Kolbe as keynote speaker. Kolbe:

Immigration is the most ferocious angst filled issued in 22 years in Congress. Kolbe says that he said in 1986 that the 86 amnesty would encourage others to come. With the economic crisis there is a decline in hospitality industry and housing construction. Immigration as an issue has dropped way down.

Meat Packing and vegetable growers still cannot get the workers they want. Thinks Obama and immigration/work visas is a non starter.

E-Verify—there have been a number of improvements and it is much better. There is much better communication between data bases. But problems persist. Difficult to determine accuracy. Intel did a study of its employees and 12% were not confirmed.

No way to check identity fraud. Cannot stop underground employment. Kolbe says that any legislation must contain:

1) Improved security;
2) Market based means to bring in people and an employee verification system;
3) Opportunity to legalize status.

Kolbe quotes Dickens’ "It is the best of times and the worst of times."
Worst—Economy.
Best—White House and the Hill changed.

(FROM JIM ROBB) Incredibly revealing statement from Kolbe. He agrees that the economy makes more immigration look like a terrible idea. His comfort, however, is that the working man's party (e.g., Democrats) being in power will allow needs of working people to be ignored.

There is a window of opportunity but it will close by the end of the Fall Term. Kolbe says do the following:
1) Let legislators know that reform must be comprehensive;
2) Get associations committed;
3) Speak Out;
4) Support Organizations.

Kolbe says ImmigrationWorksUSA, Tamar Jacoby’s organization, is a good organization, and needs more money. Says Computer generated letters, and you can usually tell, mostly discounted, but numbers of them do count. Get very few genuine letters. Need to have letters and op-eds from opinion makers.

The political prospects for reform

Simon Rosenberg

Simon Rosenberg of the left-leaning think tank, New Democratic Network. He designed strategies to make Democrats more competitive in states with rapidly growing Hispanic populations. Americans support CIR and they want a path to Citizenship, not just legalization.

Rosennberg: Few Americans blame the immigrants. Support for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (i.e., Amensty plus more work visas) has gone up in a down economy. CIR is solving a vexing problem. State and local officials in battle ground states are pressing Washington, D.C. for resolution. Passing CIR will help depoliticize the Census. Reform will help calm dangerous border regions. Promoting Sonia Sotomayor, as Obama is, as a great Latina and an example of wonderful people will help lock the White House into CIR. Passing CIR will help Democrats lock in the Hispanic vote.

Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform: Immigration is the USA’s competitive advantage.

(FROM JIM ROBB) Why are Republican activists Tamar Jacoby, Grover Norquist, and several other long-time GOP hacks at this meeting so excited about building a permanent Democratic Party majority by "locking in" Hispanic votes?

Rosenberg: Dems won’t move unless 20 to 30 Republicans are lined up.

Norquist: Too many bills have been introduced that have boat anchors (i.e., provisions that bog it down). A bill without boat anchors will pass. If CIR is passed most people won’t even see a change.

Rosenberg: Once CIR start moving it must keep going. He thinks people are getting worn out. He was involved in health care reform 15 years ago and he does not ever want to again be involved in health care reform.

Strategy Session - Grasstops and grassroots advocacy

Must focus on those who might change their opinion. Grassroots is the hardest thing to do, says Jacoby. But it must be done.

Joe Sigg, Arizona Farm Bureau. We need new 500,000 unskilled workers each year. 70 to 80% of the workers are undocumented. Find out who is the Congressman’s "kitchen cabinet" and work with them, they will get the message to the Congressman when they become convinced. Develop relationships with reporters.

Tamar Jacoby: How do we get what we want? There are two areas.
#1 is in state action--when you are at home, being out there;
#2 Contacting Congress.

Jacoby: Mentions Lou Dobbs and NumbersUSA shutting down the switchboard. We do not need to be even in faxes and phone calls because we have great lobbyists. But we need more faxes and phone calls than we have been getting.

Jacoby: Need National Trade Associations [on our side], Corporate Partners, and through those groups we can reach their members who can then be part of our campaign. Marriott is an example.

Strategy Session - What to expect on the Hill

A former Cornyn aide spoke. Gave a lot of guidance on talking about what you know and not trying to tell the staffer anything that might be construed as the staffer’s job or area of expertise. Many of the staffers have absolutely no experience on this issue but they will listen. The average staffer age is 27. You must tell them what you want.

Ali Noorani

Ali Noorani, National Immigration Reform: We need 279 votes and that means we need Republicans. New immigrant voters affected 20-25 house races where voted pro-immigration. Talks about 20% are with us, 60 % are undecided or inactive, and 20% are against us. We need to work on those 60%. We will handle the 20% against by marginalizing them. CIS and NumbersUSA are funded by racists—so we constantly make them deal with that question, that they are funded by racists. Now the 60% we need to convince that CIR is in their best interests.

Noorani: We have,

Noorani: Because of pressure that was put on Congress, Members of Congress actually showed up for meetings where we only expecting to see Staffers. That is because they are feeling pressure. 137,000 Faxes were recently sent to the House and Senate. We need workers. How does immigration affect me, my family and my business. Explain that. And we need a "market-based" system.

Conservative Democrats are worried about enforcement side. Be careful and criticize "Unscrupulous employers. We don’t want people thinking all employers are unscrupulous.

White House is really paying attention to the calls right now. They are counting the calls. The opposition can get 300 to 400 calls per day with little effort. The opportunity is mid-October to March.

Jacoby: Summed up in preparation for the lobbying. The basic message is that you need workers. Do not get into any details as to how you see it working. Avoid talking about Amnesty.

 

(FROM JIM ROBB) So that's the report. Finally, I'm appending a talking points memo that was handed out to conference participants. This thing is good because it discusses all the Open Borders, Big Business alliance's arguments. Especially note the bogus, nearly laughable claims of America having a present and future labor shortage! Millions of unemployed Americans will be shocked to learn this.

ImmigrationWorksUSA [i.e., Big Business, Open Borders Lobby] presents:

IMMIGRATION ESSENTIALS: AMERICA NEEDS FOREIGN WORKERS EVEN NOW - SOME INDUSTRIES CAN'T FIND ENOUGH WORKERS EVEN IN A RECESSION

THE DOWNTURN HASN'T REVERSED BASIC DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS

LABOR SHORTAGES COULD CHOKE THE RECOVERY

EMPLOYERS SUPPORT IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT: FIX IT NOW--CONGRESS MUST RESTORE THE RULE OF LAW

E-VERIFY HAS THE MAKINGS OF AN EFFECTIVE SYSTEM, BUT IT NEEDS WORK

ENFORCE TOUGHER SANCTIONS AGAINST EGREGIOUS EMPLOYERS

THE BEST ANTIDOTE TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS A WORKABLE LEGAL IMMIGRATION SYSTEM

WHAT EMPLOYERS NEED IN A REFORM BILL - ALL VERSIONS OF COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM ARE NOT EQUAL

WHY A BILL WITHOUT ADDITIONAL EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISAS WILL NOT WORK FOR EMPLOYERS OR THE ECONOMY

WHAT EMPLOYERS NEED TO ASK ABOUT A PROPOSED COMMISSION TO SET IMMIGRATION QUOTAS

Closing Comments

Now you know what we're up against! These are people who see 9.5% unemployment and say that we have a labor shortage! They see 15 million unemployed Americans and they say that Congress must increase the "free flow" of foreign labor.

The big business, open borders coalitions is one of the ugliest sides of capitalism. They preach a future that NumbersUSA will continue to fight.


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