Of course, it was disappointing to lose the E-Verify battle this evening 50-47 when a switch of only two votes would have won it.
But in this temporary defeat, we see many signs of winning the longer-term battle for E-Verify to take away the jobs magnet from illegal immigration. I'll tell you the reasons for optimism -- and tell you which Senators were the biggest sell-outs of unemployed American workers.
Because of our side's relentless campaign for E-Verify since last summer, the Democratic leadership included in this Omnibus bill a 6-MONTH extension that will keep the program from dying this month as had been scheduled. We wanted a 5-YEAR extension, but the program is not going to die.
Commenters below -- even as I am writing this -- are walking off today's battlefield and asking "what next?" They are ready immediately to fight some more for the some 7 million Americans who are unemployed because millions of illegal aliens are allowed to hold U.S. jobs. Good for you!
Majority Leader Reid and 49 of his fellow Democrats voted today in favor of the illegal foreign workers and their outlaw employers -- and against unemployed Americans. But frankly, I don't think many of them had their heart in it. In fact, I'll explain later that I think a lot of Democrats cringed as they cast their votes today with your weeks of pleading phone calls perhaps ringing in their ears.
I have just sent an Action Alert by email to all of you registered members of NumbersUSA, outlining the next steps. Your NumbersUSA Capitol Hill Team is already working on leveraging some behind-the-scenes activity today.
SENATE LEADER REID HAD LOCK ON BLOCKING SESSIONS AMENDMENT
Every Republican but the ill Sen. Johanns of Nebraska (who didn't vote) voted NO to tabling the long-term E-Verify extension.
The 7 Democrats who joined the Republicans in supporting jobless American workers were:
- Bayh of Indiana
- Klobuchar of Minnesota
- McCaskill of Missouri
- Baucus and Tester of Montana
- Nelson of Nebraska
- Webb of Virginia
We are most pleased with their vote and will give them good points toward their immigration grade. But the way they did it makes them less than heroes in our eyes.
Six of the seven were among the 15 Democrats who voted against the Bush/Kennedy/McCain amnesty of 2007. Klobuchar is the real surprise today, having voted for the amnesty and having a D-minus immigration grade.
If you were watching C-SPAN during the vote, you probably noticed something odd about the 7 Democrats who voted with us, casting a NO on tabling the E-Verify amendment. That is, most of the 7 (maybe all) first voted YES. But at the end, they huddled with Reid's leadership team and began changing their votes to a NO.
What was going on was that Sen. Reid was demanding almost absolute discipline from his Democrats. The ones who felt like they needed to vote NO on our side let Reid know ahead of time, but most of them consented to vote YES if Reid required it of them.
Thus, nearly all Democrats initially voted YES (to kill the E-Verify amendment). Then, once Reid knew exactly how many YES votes he could give up and still have 50, he began allowing some of the Democrats to vote NO.
Presumably, Reid allowed a NO vote from the Democrats who were under the most pressure back home to vote NO.
So, I would say those of you in Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska and Virginia should feel highly complimented that Sen. Reid apparently feared you the most.
TOP 20 DISAPPOINTMENTS AMONG SENATORS
Of the 50 Senators who voted against assuring businesses and states that E-Verify is here to stay, 30 routinely vote to encourage foreign workers to come to the U.S. to take jobs illegally. I am not suggesting that these Senators are hopeless, but they behaved true to form today.
But there are reasons that we could have expected more out of the other 20. If only two of the following 20 Senators had voted NO today, we could have won today.
NO. 20 BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT -- Democratic Senator Burris of Illinois was recently picked by the disgraced governor to serve out Pres. Obama's Senate term. Discussions between him and the governor have cast questions about the appointment and caused other Senate Democrats to distance themselves from him. One argument that Burris has given for why he is so important in the Senate is that he is the only African-American and needs to give voice to special needs of Black Americans throughout the country. The latest federal stats show that Black Americans are suffering by far the worst unemployment, but in the face of voting for the E-Verify system to open up jobs held by illegal aliens, Burris stood against unemployed Blacks and other Americans.
NO. 11 through 19 -- The other Democrats who were elected for the first time last fall or appointed this year to fill out terms. Even though most of these Senators previously told the public that they believed in preventing unscrupulous employers from hiring illegal workers, not a single new Democratic Senator stood for enforcement today. Their first immigration act in the Senate was an anti-enforcement act. Every Freshman Democrat started his/her immigration record on the side of illegal foreign workers. That was the shame for ...
Begich of Alaska,
Udall and Bennet of Colorado,
Kaufman of Delaware,
Shaheen of New Hampshire,
Udall of New Mexico,
Hagan of North Carolina,
Merkley of Oregon,
Warner of Virginia.
NO. 7 through 10 -- Four Democratic Senators who voted against the massive Bush/Kennedy/McCain amnesty in 2007 because of populist concerns about the effect on American workers. These were four Senators who we have not usually been able to count on to take this stand, but because they were among the 15 Democrats who in 2007 stood against their Party's obsession with flooding U.S. occupations with foreign workers, we had begun to expect more out of ....
- Bingaman of New Mexico,
- Brown of Ohio,
- Harkin of Iowa,
- Rockefeller of West Virginia.
NO. 6 BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT -- Senator Stabenow of Michigan. She got into the Senate in 2000 because our side hammered the Republican incumbent Senator Abraham for his aggressive preference for foreign workers over Americans. Since then, she has tended to side with American workers on these close, important immigration votes (including opposing the 2007 amnesty). Not today, even though her state has the worst unemployment in the nation.
NO. 4 and 5 -- Senators Byrd of West Virginia and Dorgan of North Dakota. What happened? Both are well ensconced in their states, but how could the citizens have not persuaded them to do what they usually do. In most years, no Democrat has been more likely to stand for American workers against the importation of foreign workers than Byrd and Dorgan (who have fought against all amnesties). But today, Reid needed their votes to protect illegal aliens and Byrd and Dorgan gave theirs to him.
NO. 3 -- Senator Gillibrand of New York turned her back on her previous record and seemed to prove that the screaming New York City illegal immigration groups have truly gotten control of the recently appointed Senator. As a Member of the U.S. House, Gillibrand had been one of the 50 or so more agressive Democrats in opposing illegal immigration and in demanding mandatory E-Verify for all businesses. But as soon as she was appointed Senator, the illegal immigration groups met with her and demanded she change her ways. And that she did today.
NO. 1 and 2 -- Senators Pyror of Arkansas and Landrieu of Louisiana needed our side to see them as pro-American-worker Democrats as they ran for re-election last year. We gave them a lot of pats on the back and recognition for taking the lead in introducing the SAVE Act in the Senate to mandate the use of E-Verify for all employees in America. But now that they have been elected for another six-year term, they turned their back on E-Verify today when their two votes alone would have won the long-term extension.
TODAY WAS A GOOD STEP FORWARD
If you live in the states with the Disappointing Democratic Senators, we will give you ample opportunity to express your opinion of their behavior today.
Nonetheless, I think we moved forward even in our narrow defeat today.
If you watched the debate, you noticed that the opposition really didn't criticize E-Verify. In fact, most of the Senators arguing against the 5-year extension were just saying that today was the wrong time to do it and that the Omnibus was the wrong vehicle. Several even said they favor long-term expansion.
Absent from the remarks were the falsehoods we see so often in the mainstream media in quotations from the ACLU, immigration attorneys and religious leaders. I didn't hear talk of E-Verify being riddled with errors or rife with discrimination or threatening of falsely firing U.S. citizens.
If all of you respond strongly enough to the bad votes from your Senators today, we may be close to congressional leadership deciding that it is time to just get this issue out of the mix and pass a long-term reauthorization.
It was clear in the debate this afternoon and evening that the E-Verify amendment was an inconvenience for those who were insisting on ramming the giant Omnibus spending bill through Congress. Unfortunately, being out of work because more than 7 million illegal aliens have U.S. jobs is a lot more than an inconvenience for unemployed Americans.
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
Updated: Wed, Apr 1st 2009 @ 5:19pm EDT