"We have more than 2 million members of our activist network. That's the key asset that we have," says Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA, which opposes the immigration overhaul efforts.
Many of the group's foot soldiers are dismayed by the House GOP leaders' seeming willingness to consider a compromise on immigration. Beck says his troops will try to persuade rank-and-file Republicans not to follow their leaders on this issue. Once again, McCarthy will find himself in the cross hairs.
"Our main strategy here is, of course, to try to make sure that a majority of Republicans are telling McCarthy that they don't want any bill brought to the floor," Beck says.
Such statements reflect the fear among immigration opponents that any immigration bill passed by the House could end up looking like the Senate bill after it goes through conference. So their solution is to oppose any and all immigration legislation.
"It's no secret our main message is, if you hate S 744, you can't bring anything to the floor of the House, because that's what it's going to become," Beck says.
With moneyed business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Facebook backing the immigration overhaul, those who oppose it are relying largely on personal communication with their elected officials.
Beck has been compiling a list of town hall meetings for his members despite the fact that some lawmakers, afraid of making news, have decided this year to skip such meetings entirely.
By David Harrison and Kate Ackley, CQ Weekly
Updated: Thu, Aug 8th 2013 @ 12:10pm EDT