Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has two honorable choices:
- No. 1: Go around Sen.Menendez who has a "hold" on H.R. 6633, the "clean" E-Verify re-authorization bill passed by the House. Sen. Reid can bring this back-room filibuster to the Senate floor for a vote. If he does this, there easily will be the 60 votes necessary to stop Menendez and allow an overwhelming majority vote to pass H.R. 6633. (Reid reportedly doesn't want to do this because he doesn't want to force some of his Democrats to have to go on record just before the election.)
- No. 2: Avoid a vote altogether by talking to Menendez privately, persuading him that what he is doing is threatening the reputation of the Democratic Party just before elections and get him to withdraw his "hold" on H.R. 6633. (This way, Reid could then bring H.R. 6633 to the floor in the "hot-wire" fashion which will pass by voice vote.)
Either way, the American worker and public wins. It is all about Reid doing one of those two things.
This is why we want you to put particular pressure on Democratic Senators to put an end to Menendez' shameful grandstanding. Fortunately, Senate Republicans are standing firm against Menendez.
The weakest and most vulnerable American workers -- and non-workers -- will benefit the most from your willingness to step forward and take action this week.
SEN. MENENDEZ' E-VERIFY BLACKMAIL DEAL
After we told you that some Republican Senate staffers were working with Sen. Menendez (D-N.J.) for massive increases in foreign workers, you hammered Republican offices for not holding the line for a "clean" E-Verify bill.
Your efforts really worked. By the end of this last week, Republican Senate staffs were going into negotiations with Democrats and making it clear they were united in oppositiion to a foreign-worker surge at this time of 5-year-high unemployment and financial industry collapse.
Sen. Menendez apparently is not bothered by the 5-year-high official unemployment rate -- or even by the 292,000 additional American workers who went on unemployment in August alone. He is insisting that if we keep E-Verify, then we have to add another 550,000 foreign workers next year to the 1.1 million immigrants already scheduled to come.
(AS A REMINDER: E-Verify is the central tool for taking away the job magnet from illegal immigration. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants to kill it so outlaw businesses will have more freedom to hire illegal workers. E-Verify is the on-line system that businesses can type into for each new hire and find out if they are an illegal alien.
(If you live in Arizona, Oklahoma, Georgia -- or any other of the places that have started mandating that businesses use E-Verify -- your efforts to combat illegal immigration will be halted. )
THE MENENDEZ/SESSIONS WRESTLING MATCH
Thursday night on the floor of the Senate, Sen. Sessions (R-Ala.) tried to "hot-wire" a Senate bill re-authorizing E-Verify. This is a procedure that if nobody is on the floor to object, you can get a bill through. It is supposed to be for non-controversial bills. Sessions' point was that it shouldn't be controversial to simply continue this proven E-Verify program.
But Sen. Menendez stood up to object, saying that H.R. 6633 (the House-passed re-authorization) was better than the Senate one Sessions was offering.
Sessions then said that was fine and that he was changing and offering H.R. 6633.
At that, Menendez suddenly turned on the bill he had been extolling and said he wouldn't allow a vote on E-Verify unless the Senate agrees to add another 550,000 permanent greencards to the 1.1 million already slated for next year! He offered his bill with that surge, and Sessions stood firm saying "NO WAY."
This is what we have known about Menendez from the backrooms for some time, but it is the first time Menendez has exposed himself so clearly and publicly.
We cannot allow the enemies of America's workers to blackmail us. Even though E-Verify is essential in the fight against illegal immigration, we still have to be willing to let it die this week rather than allow massive increases in permanent foreign workers.
No, I am not being stubborn instead of practical.
Consider that the point of E-Verify is to protect American workers -- and communities -- from too many foreign workers.
Does it make any sense to get E-Verify passed by giving away hundreds of thousands more U.S. jobs to other foreign workers?
The point of our fight is to protect American workers and communities. E-Verify is the best tool going (although Congress needs to make it mandatory for it to really start pushing millions of illegal workers to go home). But we will have accomplished nothing by re-authorizing a voluntary E-Verify while flooding American occupations with another 550,000 foreign workers through Menendez' bill.ROY BECK is CEO & Founder of NumbersUSA
Updated: Wed, Oct 15th 2008 @ 12:56pm EDT