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  by  Roy Beck
Our Capitol Hill Team has been gathering information from elected officials and staffers all evening, and the picture is clear that the planned vote this week on re-authorizing the E-Verify system is a battle over whether the federal government will continue to enforce immigration laws at all. With more and more Members of Congress openly calling for an end to immigration enforcement (and letting illegal foreign workers flood Americans' occupations), the E-Verify vote this week is where they plan to test the American people's willingness to resist.

Although you are unlikely to see much, if any, of this in any mainstream media report, here is what we have learned tonight:

SEN. MENENDEZ TRULY COMMITTED TO ENDING IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT

Before I explain what we are finding out tonight in the House, I have some news that may not be so shocking to those of you who know Sen. Menendez, but it is pretty disgusting, nevertheless.

Last week, I broke the news in this blog that Sen. Menendez had put one of those famous "Senate holds" on E-Verify, threatening to keep the E-Verify re-authorization from coming to a vote in the Senate which would mean it would die on Nov. 1.

On a number of radio shows last week, I was asked why Menendez was doing this. My answer was that I didn't think he was necessarily trying to kill E-Verify but was perfectly happy to risk its life as a hostage to get the ransom of 550,000 more permanent foreign workers to satisfy his corporate lobbyist pals.

Well, we heard from sources inside the Senate that Sen. Menendez has been making it quite clear privately that he would be happy to see E-Verify die. After all, more and more states and communities across the country are mandating E-Verify to drive illegal aliens and outlaw businesses out of their area. That is an Attrition Through Enforcement outcome that the Senator does not favor.

So, I apologize for being too kind to Sen. Menendez in my original assessment.

Tonight we talked to people who were in the room with one of Sen. Menendez' staffers when E-Verify was being discussed. The staffer said the Senator was absolutely committed to stopping E-Verify from coming to a vote unless it is attached to the 550,000 permanent work visas.

Asked why, the Menendez staffer said it was to ensure that businesses got all the workers they needed.

When somebody said it apparently doesn't matter to Menendez whether workers are legal or illegal, the staffer said that in the Menendez office distinctions regarding status are not made.

This reminds me of all the news stories over the weekend of a handful of U.S. Congressmen who traveled to Iowa to protest a federal raid by ICE agents on a meatpacking company full of illegal workers. Their announced goal is to put an end to worksite raids. Why? Because they are disruptive to the lives of illegal aliens.

REPUBLICAN PROBLEMS OVER?

For a week, House Democrats have mostly stood aside as Republicans squabbled over how to proceed.

Business lobbyists have hit their Republican friends really hard, hoping to get a weaker E-Verify as a favor to businesses that want to keep their options open for hiring illegal labor.

But by today, it appeared that House Republicans have chosen to stand on the side of law-abiding businesses and the American worker and push for a 10-year re-authorization of E-Verify with no strings attached.

DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE LEADERS ENTER THE FRAY

But as soon as the Republicans stopped their squabbling, Democratic leaders of the Ways & Means Committee came forth with a re-authorization proposal full of truly convoluted language that obviously was created to make it easier to gut E-Verify in the next Congress.

As I've been telling you in this blog for some time, the supporters of illegal immigration know that it is too politically dangerous to kill E-Verify directly and publicly. But there are tried and true ways to set up a program so it can be starved to death in a later Congress by some adept INACTION. There is no execution. The public tends not to notice when the sustenance is first withdrawn. And since the act that starves a program is not an act but a non-act, there are no fingerprints so that the public cannot know exactly who did the non-act that was the murder.

Well, that is the plan from the Ways & Means Democrats.

Then came Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California's Silicon Valley. She is the House's chairman of immigration matters and nearly always provides business lobbyists what they want on immigration.

Once she saw that the business lobbyists couldn't prevail with their Republican friends to limit authorization to 3 years, she brought forth her own plan that treats the 12-year-old E-Verify as a pilot project and forces it into this same life-death struggle again in three years.

Friends, you have managed to scare most House Republicans away from the notion that American jobs can be passed around to illegal foreign workers as a favor to rich campaign contributors. But the Democrats have the majority. Most of their leaders prefer to end -- or severely limit -- immigration enforcement. They are not sure yet if you, the public, care enough about this to make them pay for gutting the most important tool against illegal immigration.

NumbersUSA members, please check your Action Buffet for actions you can take at this pivotal moment.

Tags:  
Interior Enforcement
E-Verify

Updated: Tue, Jul 29th 2008 @ 12:33pm EDT

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