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  by  Roy Beck

Based on the ridiculous and inhumane claim that America suffers from a labor shortage, two groups of elites (business and evangelical leaders) are pouring big money into countering NumbersUSA’s TV and radio ads that criticize Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

News media are clear that both groups are rushing their ads into South Carolina to protect Sen. Graham from the weeks of ads sponsored by NumbersUSA that question his “comprehensive immigration reform” (CIR) leadership. Why is Sen. Graham pushing an amnesty for millions of illegal foreign workers and a giant increase in new immigrant workers when so many South Carolinians can’t find a job, our ads ask.  

The ad by the loose-labor-market evangelical leaders avoids directly mentioning the jobs issue and suggests that Christians who don’t support CIR’s giant increase in foreign workers are against compassion and justice.

But the business PAC ad makes it clear that the point of CIR is to help businesses.

In some ways, I welcome the business ads because they further educate South Carolina voters about the role their senator is playing in working against the interests of the wage-earners of his state.

Also, the ads underscore that CIR is about helping certain businesses rather than addressing American workers’ job crisis that is now in its fifth year.

In the ad, Bryan Derreberry, head of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, says:

South Carolina businesses will not be able to continue to grow without real immigration solutions. Sen. Graham's right on target in fighting for immigration reform today."

The ads are backed by the business-dominated super PAC, Republicans for Immigration Reform, led by Pres. Bush’s Sec. of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez.

The implication is that businesses can’t thrive without more immigrant labor. That dovetails with several recent quotes from Sen. Graham that he is championing CIR to save the nation from a devastating labor shortage.

Labor shortage?  Is there no limit to how brazen the supporters of the CIR amnesty can be? 

Our government reports that 20 million Americans can’t find a full-time job.


Embarrassing themselves in backing the loose-labor-market dreams of the greediest of business interests, a national group of evangelical leaders is running ads indicating that Jesus backs CIR.

In the evangelical leaders' ad, Rev. Jim Goodroe says:

Christ calls us evangelicals to compassion and justice, so please join a growing movement of Christians asking our political leaders for immigration solutions rooted in Bible values."

The ad is sponsored by a national group of evangelical leaders who have been lobbying for an amnesty for more than a year.

“It’s up to us to convince" Members of Congress that the majority of voters in their districts "support comprehensive immigration reform, and we believe they do,” said Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Although the religious leaders generally emphasize their desire to reward 11 million illegal aliens with permanent work permits and U.S. citizenship, many of them also argue that the cause of illegal immigration is not enough legal visas to deal with worker shortages.  They also thus far have backed all CIR proposals for increased foreign workers.


The newspaper in Easley, S.C., caught especially unguarded statements by Sen. Graham at a Rotary Club meeting.

If you've wondered why all the urgency of the Gang of Eight in pushing through CIR, Sen. Graham explained it this way: 

I'm trying to save our nation from, I think, a shortage of labor . . ."

To his credit, he acknowledged that the country has a high unemployment rate but indicated unemployed Americans won't take the tough jobs.  He doesn't even seem to think that Americans OUGHT to do those jobs.  That is, the jobs apparently are beneath the dignity of Americans and ought to be done only by foreign labor -- presumably peasant workers to do peasant jobs.

The paper reported Sen. Graham saying:

Anybody ever worked in a chicken processing plant? Anybody ever been to one? How many of you want your kids to work there? It's tough work. When you go to these meatpacking plants in Saluda, harvesting the crops or servicing the hotels along the coast, you may not believe it, but it is true – there is a shortage of labor in some parts of our economy, even though we have high unemployment.”

One of the things most dispiriting about those comments are that government data show that the majority of people working in poultry plants are CITIZENS.  What is he saying about citizens who work those jobs when he suggests that no American should ever want their children to work in those jobs?

Essentially, the CIR advocates seem to want a country with larger and larger numbers of jobs that are too degraded in working conditions and pay for Americans to take, so that foreign workers can do the grunt work while taxpayers presumably take care of the unemployed Americans.

Our vision at NumbersUSA, however, has been to go back to the tight-labor conditions of the 1950s and 1960s when most people who had a full-time job could support a family above poverty.  I want to live in a country in which every job that needs to be done is a job of dignity -- not a society in which we import peasant workers to do disgusting, low-paid jobs.   

Poultry industry jobs like far too many occupations have collapsed during 30 years of extremely high immigration so that everybody who works in them -- immigrants and native-born alike -- have lower real wages and worse working conditions than before the giant immigration wave.         

ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA

America's Jobless

Updated: Thu, Mar 14th 2013 @ 5:17pm EDT

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