Roy Beck's Picture

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  by  Roy Beck

MSNBC today is suggesting that NumbersUSA's grassroots citizen army very well may stand in the way of the mass media's rush to proclaim "comprehensive immigration reform" (mass amnesty) a done deal in the next Congress. Thanks for the respect.

But the MSNBC article nearly completely neglects to inform readers about why we stand against both a mass amnesty and the current mass legal immigration of a million a year. And it is the "why" that gives us the great influence that MSNBC says we have with Congress.

When the American people realize they have a choice between filling millions of jobs with citizens of other countries or in filling them by putting millions of their fellow Americans back to work, polling shows their enthusiasm is for their struggling fellow citizens -- especially Black and Hispanic Americans who are suffering incredibly high jobless rates. The source of NumbersUSA's influence is that we work around attempts of most of the nation's elites to keep discussions of loosened labor markets out of the public eye.

I spent about 90% of my long interview with the MSNBC reporter talking about how I created NumbersUSA in 1996 to carry out the recommendations of the bi-partisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform that was chaired by the late civil rights icon Barbara Jordan -- and about how that commission was responding to a two-century debate about how loose or tight immigration policy should make the U.S. labor market. Looser labor markets hold down wages, while tighter labor markets push wages up and press employers to greater degrees of efficiency to justify the higher wages.

The Barbara Jordan Commission (video) came down on the side of a tighter U.S. labor market. So does NumbersUSA.

In a nutshell, those entities clammoring for CIR (comprehensive immigration reform) -- whether or not their intention -- are fighting for loosening a labor market that already is awash in excess labor. Some 20 million Americans who want a full-time job can't find one. The CIR supporters are seeking a policy that will further devalue the labor of workers, depress wages and slow down the ability of any other economic efforts to lower the unemployment rates.

No wonder the elites who profit or gain power from high immigration want to nearly always racialize the issue and avoid the economic discussion -- and why they try to pretend that the Barbara Jordan Commission never existed.

The commission found that the renewal of mass immigration over the last 30 years has created great economic injustices against the most vulnerable members of our society. Fighting against those injustices has always been at the heart of NumbersUSA's activism, although neither that nor the commission itself was mentioned in the long MSNBC article.

As I note to nearly every reporter who calls -- and is left out of nearly every story that gets written -- NumbersUSA's goals were not plucked out of the air. They come from the recommendations of the federal commission. Those goals are to reduce annual permanent immigration in the short term from the approximately one million a year to around 500,000 by eliminating chain migration, the visa lottery and taking away the jobs magnet that feeds so many illegal immigrants eventually into the legal channels.

The MSNBC story refers to our "professions of moderation" that "are what’s most striking about Beck and Numbers USA" and says that pro-amnesty supporters say it is our moderation that makes us "so dangerous."

Our position and that of the Barbara Jordan Commission indeed are moderate and balance many interests. There are many reasons why more traditional numerical levels of immigration of around 250,000 a year would be better for the country, but the 500,000 as an immediate goal represents a great compromise with contending interests.

The hard-line ideologues are those who insist on continuing to give out another one million permanent work authorizations each year -- and ask for even more -- to compete directly with our own unemployed. NumbersUSA is always committed to reminding Americans that they have a choice for a different, more humane, immigration policy.

ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA

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Legal Immigration
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