With all those incumbents falling left and right, and seats changing Parties all night, it has been understandable if you feel uneasy about how we will do in the next Congress in terms of protecting American workers and communities from radical new immigration efforts.
Especially troubling has been the defeat of several of our strongest allies in both Parties.
Our preliminary assessments, however, find some reassuring signs:
- Voters didn't punish anybody for taking strong enforcement stands. Other factors were at play in our allies' defeat.
- In most cases, our allies were replaced by challengers who worked hard to convince voters that they were just as tough -- or tougher -- on illegal immigration as the incumbents.
On the other hand, I can't point to anybody losing a seat for being too pro-amnesty.
The results of this evening have not been a reason for celebrating. But neither have they been a reason for us to put on sackcloth.
At this hour, I do not have the complete and final assessment of the changes in Congress wrought by the election. I don't even know all the winners, yet.
But here are several observations both about what the elections say about immigration as an issue and what the new Members seem likely to do.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Most of the Republicans replacing Republicans look to have the same general opposition to illegal immigration and to rewards for it as the Members they follow.
Most of the Democrats replacing Democrats have similar open-borders attitudes as the retiring Members they follow.
But where that is not the case and where the congressional seat changed Parties, these are the numbers from my rough preliminary analysis:
6 - I count six newly elected House Democrats who favor amnesty for most illegal aliens and who are replacing Republicans who opposed amnesty. A bad shift, although the former Republican holders of these seats tended to be fairly mediocre on immigration, at least until recently.
A good sign is that none of these new Members seems to have campaigned for amnesty as if it were a passionate issue for them. Most, in fact, look like they were trying to hide their pro-amnesty support by specifically claiming that they "oppose amnesty" before describing the necessity of putting illegal aliens on the path to citizenship. Their positions often were wrested from them in journalists' interviews.
1 - I'm afraid that one of the very good Democrats who was defeated is being replaced by a Republican significantly weaker on immigration issues. There is no sign that immigration was a factor in who won.
3 - The issue also doesn't seem to have been a factor in the outcome for three new Democrats I have found thus far who ran on pretty decent immigration platforms but who replaced Republicans with better positions. Nonetheless, it is reassuring that these candidates felt it was expedient to run tough on enforcement.
1 - A Republican defeated a Democratic incumbent whose immigration position was roughly equivalent in toughness.
4 - For four Democrats who took Republican seats, we can find no immigration stance at all.
1 - One new Democrat appears to be far better on immigration than the Democratic predecessor.
1 - And at least one new Republican appears to be far better on immigration than the Republican predecessor.
2 - Two new Republicans took seats that had been held by weaker Democrats.
4 - I found four good Republicans in competitive races who beat back strong pro-amnesty Democratic competitors.
3 - Three of the new Democrats who took Republican seats ran on exceptionally strong immigration enforcement planks.
4 - And four other new Democrats appear to be much stronger on immigration enforcement than the Republicans they replaced.
Nonetheless, our biggest challenge will be that Speaker Pelosi now has a bigger Democratic majority to embolden her to try more radical immigration efforts. We will have to mobilize effectively and often to peel away enough Democrats to stop her efforts for more foreign workers.
PLEASE GO TO YOUR ACTION BUFFET CORKBOARD AND SEND SOME FAXES TO MAKE SURE THE INCUMBENT WINNERS KNOW WE ARE STILL OUT HERE AND STILL WATCHING
Updated: Fri, Nov 14th 2008 @ 10:03am EST