My gut feeling is still that we ought to be able to defeat the House-passed Dream Act amnesty when it comes up for a vote in the Senate later this week.
But . . .
Do you really want to rely on my gut?
The PRO-amnesty TV network Univision is reporting that the DREAM Act amnesty is 4 votes short of the 60 needed for passage. Mass. Sen. Brown's courageous announcement of his NO vote at a Salvation Army fundraiser yesterday puts Senate passage of the House-passed amnesty farther out of reach. But the PRO-amnesty forces claim they have already processed 160,000 phone calls into Congress. And groups of PRO-amnesty clergy are meeting with Undeclared Senators to explain how a moral person would vote. Sen. Reid is threatening to bring the Senate back after Christmas to try to ensure that the amnesty passes.
Here's my full update for today . . .
- Pro-amnesty forces claim they are only one vote short of victory. I really believe this is part of their two-year-long bluff to try to make themselves seem like they have momentum in order to perhaps frighten some Senators to join the "winning" team. Nonetheless, their claim is unnerving. We can't afford to do anything but take it seriously. The pro-amnesty TV network Univision is reporting 4 votes short of 60, with several still Undeclared. That is scary enough.
- Sen. Brown says NO! That's the best news from yesterday. He was the Republican whom the pro-amnesty forces claimed was going to get them to the 60-vote victory mark. (See more details below.) Congratulations to all you activists in Massachusetts.
- Senate isn't going home at end of week. Senate Majority Leader Reid had earlier indicated he wouldn't keep Senators in session until Christmas Eve like he did last year. Typically, Congress adjourns before Thanksgiving to allow the nation to feel safe at least for the month of December. Reid was supposedly going to let the Senate go home at the end of this week. (The newly elected Congress takes over Jan. 5.) If the Congress adjourned at the end of this week, it was going to be hard to shoe-horn the DREAM Act amnesty debate and vote in between all the giant have-to business. But now, it looks like the Senate is staying in session until next week and maybe until next Thursday the 23rd. Bad news for us.
- Amnesty vote unlikely before LATE this week. Yesterday, we were saying the amnesty vote might happen as early as Wednesday (tomorrow). With the extended Senate session, it is difficult to see the amnesty coming up before this weekend and probably next week. That gives the various contingents of illegal-alien students and clergy coalitions a lot more time to lay guilt trips on Undeclared and squishy-NO Senators back home. More bad news.
- We apparently have only one chance instead of two to defeat on cloture votes. Previously, Sen. Reid had to get 60 votes to pass cloture to START debate on the DREAM amnesty. If we lost that one, we would have another chance to keep him from getting 60 votes to pass cloture to STOP debate and have a final vote. That has changed. Because the House has sent over its own DREAM amnesty, Reid can bring it up for debate at any time WITHOUT a cloture vote. We expect that he will immediately file cloture to STOP the debate even before it begins. Once he does that, he can't hold the cloture vote until two days later. This isn't a big deal, but the change does disadvantage us somewhat from our ability to kill the amnesty.
YOU CAN REACH ANY SENATOR THROUGH THE CAPITOL SWITCHBOARD
UNDECLARED BUT LEANING YES
Sen. Murkowski (R)
No statement on her web site and no media quotes. Daily Kos says multiple whips counts have her as a likely supporter. Most of the PRO-amnesty groups are counting her as a YES.
Sen. Landrieu (D)
She indicates that the House bill needs to be considered because it has some changes (suggesting that she will claim the House bill closes loopholes). She talks of major concern for the "children."
Sen. Stabenow (D)
She was a certain YES on cloture to start debate. But she has not indicated whether she would vote YES to end debate and thus pass the bill. She is up for re-election in 2012 in a state that turned sharply Republican in the 2010 elections. Now (as noted above), we are facing only a cloture vote to END debate. PRO-amnesty forces count her as theirs. But I don't think she has to be at all.
Sen. McCaskill (D)
McCaskill has a wide-ranging interview on her web site. Appears to be leaning toward yes but its non-committal. She says (1) we have never punished children, (2) this is a different bill than the one I voted against, and (3) if this bill is more narrowly drawn, I will take a serious look at it. She needs to be reminded that any amnesty support will certainly show up when she tries to be re-elected in 2012 by a state that went sharply Republican in the 2010 elections.
Sen. Dorgan (D)
He was a certain YES on cloture to start debate. But he has not indicated whether he would vote YES to end debate and thus pass the bill. Now (as noted above), we are facing only a cloture vote to END debate. In the past, he has been one of our most reliable NO votes on amnesty. But he is retiring and acting squishy. PRO-amnesty forces are counting him as theirs. I don't think that has to be true at all.
UNDECLARED BUT LEANING NO
These Senators' staff continually tell our members that they will vote NO. But for some reason, all media and political whip counts are calling them Undeclared. Thank them and encourage them to go ahead and publicly declare themselves a NO.
Sen. Baucus (D)
Sen. Hagan (D)
Sen. Conrad (D)
UNDECLARED AND TOTALLY UNKNOWN
Sen. Manchin (D)
Keep this in mind about Senators who are Undeclared, or who say they will vote NO but are squishy, or who say they will vote YES but are potentially movable to NO:
They all are sympathetic to the poster children of the DREAM Act -- those are the minority of potential amnesty recipients who were brought to the U.S. by their parents when they were infants or toddlers and who are now good high school or college students.
Perhaps the poster children do deserve consideration in the future but not before the enforcement is put in place to stop future illegal immigration. Your argument is that it is not possible in this rushed Lame Duck session to create and pass an amnesty that is limited to the deserving and which will stop future unfair illegal labor competition to unemployed Americans.
- No matter how sympathetic these students may be, you can't give out another mass amnesty without fixing the weak enforcement that allowed their parents to bring them here and keep them here for years and years. DREAM has ZERO enforcement.
- The DREAM Act amnesty includes no requirement that jobs be shut off to the millions of future illegal aliens who will bring THEIR children and put them in this exact same predicament that DREAM puports to resolve. It is totally irresponsible to the 22 million unemployed Americans to give out a big amnesty without requiring mandatory verification to keep illegal aliens from holding jobs.
SENS. BROWN (R-Mass.) & LeMEIUX (R-Fla.) SHOW THE PRACTICAL RESPONSE TO EMOTIONAL APPEALS
Perhaps no two Senators have been subjected to as much emotional pressure to bow to amnesty. The PRO-amnesty forces have bet the farm on moving these two because of special political circumstances in their states.
In its report of Sen. Brown's declaration of opposition to DREAM amnesty yesterday, the Associated Press reported:
Brown's remarks came as a coalition of educators, religious leaders and immigrant advocates made a last ditch appeal Monday asking him to support the proposal. Brown also had been a target of a national campaign by advocates.
For months, supporters of the bill and illegal immigrant college students, who call themselves "DREAMers," have staged sit-ins, rallies and marches outside Brown's office. Students have left hundreds of signed letters from supporters and young immigrants who said they would enlisted in the military if the bill passed.
Imagine if you were under that kind of emotional pressure? Imagine having all those clergy suggesting that you are inhumane, anti-Hispanic and even immoral if you don't legalize these young adult illegal aliens!
I have to tip my hat to Sen Brown for having the confidence of his convictions and a sense of that morality of standing up for 22 million Americans who want a full-time job but who can't find one. He once again declared his opposition to the DREAM amnesty at a Salvation Army charity event in downtown Boston!!!!!
Sen. LeMieux has been under similar pressures. After the Senate voted to postpone the amnesty vote last week, he put out this statement:
I am very sympathetic to the young people who entered our country illegally by no fault of their own, but I will not support consideration of the DREAM Act without addressing border security. I recently visited the US-Mexico border in Arizona and witnessed the progress toward securing the border. Fully funding and replicating our security successes across the border would allow us to address the DREAM act. However, we are still far from achieving a level of border security that is acceptable to me or to the American people.
I would have liked to see Sen. LeMieux set a higher standard of pre-conditions, including mandatory workplace verification and an end to chain migration, but his standard works just fine for the few weeks until he leaves office.
This is the line in the sand you are asking every Senator to draw . . .
. . . . . The line is that whatever one's feelings about the merits of some illegal aliens for an amnesty, no amnesty should be even talked about until the border is secure against continued mass illegal immigration and our jobs are secure from illegal aliens being able to take them from Americans.
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
Updated: Tue, Dec 14th 2010 @ 3:28pm EST