No question that the results were quite mixed for those of us desiring rational, pro-worker immigration policies. But I believe the net puts us in a somewhat stronger position the next two years than in the last two years.
Let's take a first look.
Improvements in the Senate
There were some good signs in key races of voters sticking with candidates for Congress who recognize that immigration policies have profound effects on the ability of millions of American workers to earn a liveable wage -- or even to have a job.
- NEVADA: The result here may be most important because it calls into question an arguing point many pundits are trying to make this morning about the growing Hispanic vote. Nevada has a gigantic and rapidly growing Hispanic electorate and was given the choice between two sitting Members of Congress with totally different approaches on immigration and U.S. jobs.
Rep. Shelley Berkely has earned a D-minus for her preference of U.S. jobs going to illegal aliens and to additional immigrant workers.
She was going up against Dean Heller who just recently left the U.S. House upon being appointed to fill out the Senate term until this election. Heller has earned an A+ for his immigration policy preference for U.S. workers taking U.S. jobs.
Nevada chose Heller, the pro-enforcement candidate.
- INDIANA: The primaries had already ensured that Indiana would improve the Senate for us. State Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) guaranteed a positive change when he defeated long-time incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar (R) in the primary, using immigration as one of his key issues. Lugar has the worst anti-worker immigration record of Senate Republicans. Mourdock filled out our NumbersUSA survey and promised to support all of our top priorities in enforcement and in reductions in worker importation.
But this race was one in which American workers couldn't lose because the Democrats nominated Rep. Joe Donnelly, the Democrat with the third best immigration-reduction grade in all of Congress.
Donnelly's victory makes him part of our bi-partisan firewall against the massive increases in the legal foreign workforce that are favored by the Democratic Majority Leader in the Senate (Harry Reid). It is important to remember that the Dream Act amnesty was defeated in 2010 because of five Democratic Senators.
- TEXAS: Ted Cruz easily won the seat long held by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who has not been terrible on immigration but is generally a wishy-washy C-Grade politician who seemed always looking for a way to undercut American workers for the sake of employers seeking to pay lower wages. The only place she was reliably good was on border issues.
But Cruz qualified as one of NumbersUSA's True Reformers, having filled out our survey pledging to work to eliminate chain migration, visa lottery and birthright citizenship for illegal aliens, while supporting mandatory E-Verify and a lot more enforcement. Cruz won a Republican primary against an establishment-backed opponent out of the George Bush mold of anti-worker immigration policies.
Out-spoken champions survive relentless targeting
Gigantic amounts of money were expended by open-borders groups to embarrass two of the most out-spoken opponents of illegal immigration. They failed.
- Rep. Steve King was easily re-elected in a much-tougher re-drawn district against the wife of a popular former governor. He stands as a likely next chairman of the U.S. House immigration subcommittee and has been nearly perfect in his pro-active support for immigration policies that benefit the American worker.
- Sheriff Joe was also easily re-elected in Arizona. Nobody's political scalp was more prized and sought by the open-borders advocates.
Strong pro-enforcement records seemed to help Democratic incumbents in tough races. We will look to them to play important roles in bi-partisan resistance to the sweeping increases in foreign workers that Pres. Obama called for in his campaign.
In addition to the new Sen. Donnelly (the third best Democrat in Congress):
- Sen. John Tester (D) of Montana won re-election in a largely Republican state. The fact that he has the best immigration-reduction grade of any Senate Democrat surely helped him
- Rep. John Barrow surprised perhaps even himself by surviving once again in a highly conservative Georgia district. He has the second best Democratic immigration-reduction record in Congress.
- Rep. Jim Matheson gained re-election in a tough re-drawn district over Mia Love who was something of a national celebrity candidate in the Republican Party. But Love's positions on immigration weren't clear, while Matheson's record in Congress has been improving, moving him into the fourth best Democratic immigration-reduction grade over the last four years. For example, he bucked Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2010 and voted against the DREAM Act amnesty.
2013 Obama-Reid-Boehner Rule
vs. 2012 Obama-Reid-Boehner Rule
Obviously, the presidential race is what everybody most wants to talk about today. We have to deal with the fact that a Romney victory would have meant that the White House would have been occupied by somebody who campaigned on taking U.S. jobs away from illegal foreign visitors and giving them to unemployed Americans.
The news media almost universally called that pro-worker position "harsh." The fact that Hispanic American workers would have benefitted the most and the fastest from Romney's promise of mandatory E-Verify was obscured not only by the media's labeling it anti-Hispanic but also by Romney's failure to clearly articulate the benefits of his pro-enforcement positions.
Instead, the presidency will continue to be held by Obama, who seemed to suggest in the debates that he doesn't want any illegal foreign workers (other than dangerous criminals) to ever leave.
The federal lawsuit that NumbersUSA is funding will certainly be even more important in the coming months as the courts decide whether federal immigration agents should be required to obey orders from the Obama Administration that they disobey the immigration laws Congress has passed.
Because Obama ran on an anti-enforcement platform and Romney on a pro-enforcement platform, lots of pundits today are rushing to say that every presidential candidate in the future will have to run on a platform of opening up U.S. jobs to foreign-worker competition because nobody can win without a high percentage of the growing Hispanic vote and because Hispanics insist on open-borders policies.
This is an insult to Hispanic Americans, as well as a betrayal of all the American workers who struggle to earn decent wages and to even have a job. The fact is that in most of the 20 states with the highest Hispanic voting share, the pro-enforcement Romney did much better in 2012 than the non-enforcement GOP nominee John McCain did in 2008. (This is based on the spreads between DEM & GOP in each year.)
Obama will be entering his second term with a far smaller margin of votes than in 2008 and with less of any kind of mandate. I imagine he will be more aggressive this time in pursuing his higher-foreign-worker agenda, but he will have less to work with.
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) will still be running the Senate while Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will still be running the House.
This is a combination that prevented legislation that would worsen immigration policies in 2011 and 2012. It also was a combination that prevented bills to improve the policies.
How they and other key congressional leaders react to various immigration initiatives will have a lot to do with how voters express themselves directly to those politicians. That will be yours and our job, and now is no time to let up. Just as for the last two years, we will have to mobilize Americans regularly and vigorously to stop this triad from imposing further harm on American workers through reckless immigration policies.
You and we have been fighting against these kinds of forces since 2001, regardless of the Party in power, and have stopped all amnesties every single year. This is no time to break the streak.
ROY BECK is the CEO & Founder of NumbersUSA
Updated: Thu, May 11th 2017 @ 4:27pm EDT