Chris Chmielenski's picture


  by  Chris Chmielenski

Last week, Gallup asked Americans if they approve of the job that Congress is doing. Not surprisingly, only 16% said they did. Yesterday's vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sen. Jeff Sessions' amendment to reduce the legal immigration levels proposed in the Gang of Eight's bill is a prime example of why that support is so low. 

Every member of the committee besides Sen. Sessions voted against the amendment. 

The Gang of Eight's bill would grant 33 million green cards in the first 10 years if enacted. Sen. Sessions' amendment would reduce that number to 23 million.

Let's make one thing clear -- under current law, the U.S. would grant about 11 million green cards in the next decade, so Sen. Sessions was still offering to DOUBLE the current level, and no one went along.

We can't get inside the heads of the 17 Senators that voted 'no' to understand their rationale, but nearly every Senator on Tuesday called for an increase in some category of legal immigration at some point during the hearing. 

The National Journal called yesterday's vote a "slap down" for Sen. Sessions and the immigration-reduction movement.

"The committee’s overwhelming ‘No’ vote shows that the battle for Republicans’ souls on immigration has shifted away from groups that want to reduce the influx of foreigners, like the Heritage Foundation, NumbersUSA, and Fairness (sic) for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), toward free-market groups that applaud increased immigration, such as Americans for Tax Reform and the CATO Institute." 

They called Sen. Sessions' amendment a "poison pill" and said the "tide has shifted."

If the 17 Senators really did vote against the Sessions amendment because of what the National Journal reported, then it's more apparent than ever that Congress is out of touch with the American people and more concerned with appeasing special interests.


Just last week, Rasmussen asked Americans how many immigrants enter the country legally each year. A staggering 51% said they didn't know. Of the remaining responses, the top three choices were:  

  • 13% -- 250,000
  • 11% -- 500,000
  • 10% -- 1 million 

When Americans are told what the actual number is and then asked if the number should me increased, reduced, or remain the same, most prefer to reduce the number. Just last month, a Pulse Opinion Research poll asked 1,000 likely voters:

In recent years, the government has issued permanent green cards to approximately 1 million new immigrants each year. Is this number too high, too low, or about right?

Forty-one percent said that number was too high. Only 10% said it was too low. 

Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of polls that ask Americans if numbers should be increased or decreased. But out of the few that do (Gallup asks about once every year), every single time more Americans want to see immigration numbers reduced than increased. And yet, almost every member of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted the other way on Tuesday.

The Gang of Eight doesn't want to talk about numbers. They know it's a sure-fire way to lose support for their bill. That's why, when pressed by Sen. Sessions last week, Sen. Chuck Schumer refused to acknowledge how many green cards would be issued under the Gang's bill.

In fact, the only other estimate of legal immigration numbers under the Gang of Eight's legislation, aside from the analysis done by NumbersUSA and Sen. Sessions, is from the Center for American Progress, and even their analysis indicates at least a 50% increase in legal immigration levels.

Eventually, the American people will learn what impact the Gang's bill will have on legal immigration numbers, and when they do, they won't be happy.

CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA 

Legal Immigration

Updated: Thu, May 16th 2013 @ 12:56pm EDT

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