Though yesterday’s special election in New York’s 9th Congressional District was not focused specifically on immigration issues, the results are still quite positive for proponents of mandatory E-Verify, reduced immigration, and secure borders.
The seat up-for-grabs was the one vacated by former Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner, after lewd messages became public in a scandal earlier this year. Democrat David Weprin and Republican Bob Turner campaigned to replace Weiner, and Turner has been declared the winner with preliminary results showing an 8-point margin. The mainstream news media is analyzing this result in a national context – but whether one sees this as a repudiation of Obama’s economic policies or not, it is unquestionably an immigration victory in our view.
With the arrival of Congressman-elect Turner, the House of Representatives will be a friendlier place for immigration reduction. Former Congressman Weiner was abysmal on immigration issues, earning a career F- grade at a disgraceful 4%. To make matters worse, Rep. Weiner was on the Judiciary Committee and had more opportunities to do damage than most Members.
Weprin seemed to represent more of the same, judging by his statements. At one event, both Turner and Weprin addressed immigration issues, and the difference was stark. (Check out the video.) Even more promising is hearing Turner make the explicit connection between immigration and jobs. In this case, it was illegal immigration – but this is an important step on the right path.
But there’s more: Turner filled out a NumbersUSA 2010 Congressional Candidate survey when he ran against former-Rep. Weiner last year. His responses to the survey indicate that he will be a "True Reformer" – assuming he holds true to his campaign promises! As you can see, he filled out 11 of our 12 questions, with perfect answers. Most relevantly, while Weiner would have certainly been a "no" vote on national E-Verify, Turner will vote "yes."
This result is a measurable, significant difference. It may be tempting to view Mr. Turner as “only” one of 435, but try to shelve that thought. We usually have to make continuous, marginal progress and don’t often have the opportunity to make a wholesale change. This is a complete about-face for the constituents of NY-09.
Let’s work to make sure we get all Members of Congress on the record on immigration issues. Let’s press Turner and the rest of our Representatives to become members of our 5-for-5 Club in the Five Great Solutions Grid. Let’s stay involved in the political process and actively, respectfully push to return to America’s historic tradition of immigration.
In the coming weeks, Congress will look to move forward on national E-Verify behind the leadership of Chairman Lamar Smith. For the remainder of the Congress, the discussion will continue about the number of green cards and worker permits the U.S. gives out yearly in the midst of this jobs crisis. We are going to need all hands on deck, so let's welcome those of Congressman-elect Turner.
ANDREW GOOD is the Local Activism Coordinator for NumbersUSA
Updated: Wed, Sep 14th 2011 @ 9:20pm EDT