What just happened: This afternoon, 68 Senators voted to pass S. 744. (Click here for the full roll call.)
The bad news: If eventually signed into law, this bill would threaten to knock millions of Americans out of the middle class by flooding their occupations with 33 million foreign citizens who are offered lifetime work permits over the next decade. Can you believe 68 U.S. Senators voted for that?
The willingness of every single Democratic Senator and almost a third of Republicans to accept the corporate lobbyists' insistence that our country faces devastating labor shortages is disheartening to all of us who have fought so hard to protect the 20 million Americans who can't find a full-time job, and the millions more who have seen their real wages declining for decades during a worker surplus.
What's next, and the good news about your efforts thus far: Now, we must turn our full efforts to the U.S. House of Representatives and another huge grassroots effort in July. But this will be only a three-week fight before the month-long August recess.
There is no question that the five-month opposition that all of you have waged is having good results in the House, where the Senate bill is facing an increasingly hostile reception.
If the House refuses to move a giant overall amnesty, it doesn't matter what the Senate has done.
Your efforts have been phenomenal: Over the last few months, you have been faxing your Representatives and going to their offices, even as you focused primary attention on Senators. Republican Representatives have watched the incredible grassroots opposition to the 14 Republican Senators who broke with the rest of their Party and supported Pres. Obama's top priority for the year.
Just today, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Illinois), a member of the House Republican leadership, told reporters,
"It is a pipe dream to think that that (Senate) bill is going to go to the (House) floor and be voted on. The House is going to move through in a more deliberative process."
For months, the open-borders lobby and their supporters in the news media have proclaimed that citizens were not speaking against this amnesty anything close to the way they did in 2007.
Your efforts back in 2007 to mobilize against that amnesty effort has become the stuff of legend around Washington. But I'm so proud to tell you that over the last five months -- especially the past two weeks -- you smashed the old records for activism! You've sent millions of faxes and made hundreds of thousands of phone calls into congressional offices.
For example, Republican Bob Corker, the Senator who rescued the S. 744 amnesty from defeat last week with a fig-leaf border control amendment, admitted on the floor this morning that the bill is extremely unpopular back in his state of Tennessee.
All of us at NumbersUSA thank you U.S. citizens for everything you have done thus far. And we thank you for all Americans who will benefit if the House blocks the incredibly harmful provisions of S. 744.
Fighting the bad stuff in narrow House bill: The grassroots uprising against the Senate has truly caught hold among House Republicans who have persuaded their Leadership to go along with House Judiciary Chairman Goodlatte (R-Virginia) to refuse to do a giant comprehensive bill, instead passing small bills that deal with one immigration issue at a time.
The problem is that the special-interest lobbyists are succeeding in getting a number of provisions into those small bills that would harm American wage-earners and taxpayers.
We will be coming to you for assistance in taming those Fat Cat Welfare provisions.
Dealing with the Conference Committee danger: Even if the House passes an absolutely wonderful immigration bill -- such as the enforcement legislation recently passed overwhelmingly by the Judiciary Committee -- that would give Senate leaders the opportunity to ask for a joint Senate/House "Conference Committee" which would split the difference between that very good bill and the Senate monstrosity.
If a Conference compromise bill were to include an amnesty, both the Senate and House would need to vote for it, without opportunity for amendment. The general thinking here in Washington is that most House Democrats would vote for the Conference "report" bill and very likely the needed couple dozen or so House Republicans would, too..
But . . .
Even if the Senate leadership were to ask for a Conference Committee, Speaker Boehner would not have to agree and appoint House conferees.
And even if there were a Conference Committee that reported out a bill with an amnesty, Speaker Boehner would not have to bring it to the House floor for a vote.
We have precedents in 2005 and 2006 for what we can hope will happen this year.
Many of you were part of those battles in which the House passed an excellent enforcement bill in late 2005. Despite our best efforts, the Republican-Majority Senate passed an amnesty in the spring of 2006. Then-Speaker Hastert refused to conference over those two bills, and the Senate amnesty died. (It was the next spring in 2007 when the new Democrat-Majority Senate failed to pass an amnesty when the new Democrat-Majority House was sure to have approved it.)
Until recently, Speaker Boehner has kept open the option of bringing an amnesty bill to the House floor that might pass with a minority of Republican votes -- as he has done with some fiscal bills in the past. But over the last week, he has assured an increasingly aggressive Republican Conference in the House that he would not bring an immigration bill to the floor without at least a bare majority of Republicans supporting it.
Nonetheless, until today, he has refused to say what he would do about a Conference report that reconciled House and Senate bills.
This morning, once again, we saw the results of the powerful grassroots opposition to what the Senate has been doing. Politico just reported that Boehner told reporters :
"For any legislation including the conference report to pass the House it's going to have to be a bill that has the support of the majority of our members."
As you know, our Board of Directors, our staff and our members are Independents, Republicans and Democrats. But our July House Battle will be all about making sure that the majority of Republicans are against any overall amnesty. And we want the majority to be at least the two-thirds majority opposition to overall amnesty that we saw among Senate Republicans today.
The pro-amnesty, low-wage, labor globalization folks want Congress to believe that Americans will lose their will to fight and will just go back to reading celebrity news. But that's not the Americans I've known ever since we've worked together to stop every amnesty attempt in every year starting in 2001 (after seven amnesties passed between 1986 and 2000).
Which Senators voted out of belief in 'labor shortages' and bogus enforcement promises?
At NumbersUSA, we have an Immigration Grade Card system that ensures that no vote against the interests of the American people will ever be forgotten.
Today, 68 Senators cast votes that will be very difficult to ever redeem with future actions.
After all the promises of "enforcement first," these Senators accepted an entirely "amnesty first" bill that in the first few months would give work permits and legalization to some 11 million foreign citizens who either (a) crossed the border illegally, most of them by paying drug cartels and many of them by helping the cartels move drugs, or who (b) violated the promises on their vacation and guest visas and illegally took U.S. jobs (often through identity theft and fraud) and a share of the taxpayer-provided infrastructure.
Every single Democratic Senator voted YES to the amnesty and to the arguments of corporate lobbyists that a nation with 20 million Americans unable to find full-time jobs is desperately in need of 33 million new lifetime work permits for foreign citizens over the next decade.
And these Republican Senators voted YES to the same provisions, breaking with the majority of their Party (32 Senators) and all four of their Senate Party leaders:
We will work with all of you to ensure that those 68 Senators are held accountable for their betrayal today of American wage-earners, of the unemployed and of the rule of law.
But our top attention must now be in the July House Battle that your activism has so-well prepared us for.
ROY BECK is the CEO & Founder of NumbersUSA