By Roy Beck, Thursday, March 8, 2012, 4:09 PM EST – posted on NumbersUSA
Members of Congress and their staffers started the day with one of Washington’s daily newspapers blaring at the top of Page One:
E-Verify group to pressure Boehner with ads
Says speaker has stalled House vote
By late this afternoon, Speaker Boehner’s office was proclaiming his loyalty to E-Verify and pointing fingers at committee chairmen for keeping the bill from a floor vote. A lot of phone calling from voters in between played a major role.
I will provide a lot of the story below and interject my comments in this type format. — ROY
By Stephen Dinan
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Fed up with Republican congressional leaders, a group advocating a crackdown on immigration will begin running ads Thursday demanding that House Speaker John A. Boehner allow a vote on legislation requiring businesses to use E-Verify, the government database to check workers’ legal status.
NumbersUSA, the group sponsoring the ads, accused Mr. Boehner and his fellow Republican House leaders of blocking the bill over fears that it will anger Hispanic voters in an election year. But NumbersUSA says enacting the bill — which cleared a key committee in September but has since stalled — would help clear out unauthorized workers and open those jobs for Americans.
“Our gloves are off,” said Roy Beck, executive director of the group, who noted that his organization has pushed for action behind the scenes without success.
He said the group is now ready to take the issue public with radio and television ads designed to force the GOP to choose between politics and American workers.
“At some point, you just have to bring this stuff out into public. We’ve given the leadership all kinds of time, all kinds of excuses, but it’s been six months,” Mr. Beck said.
We were pleased to hear that this story circulated quickly around House Republican circles today, ensuring that the people who have the ability to move Speaker Boehner (Republican Representatives) know that a grassroots citizen campaign is underway. Each of them has a choice of standing with unemployed Americans and mandatory E-Verify or standing with those who want to stop H.R. 2885 (the Legal Workforce Act) and keep 7 million illegal aliens in their U.S. jobs.
Our hope is that rank-and-file Republicans who overwhelmingly support H.R. 2885 will stop cowering in fear of the House GOP leadership and band together and demand a vote.
If you haven’t seen the TV ad yet, watch it here:
And click here to listen to our radio ad:
Michael Steel, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner, blamed the legislative process for the bill’s delay.
“Speaker Boehner has supported legislation with E-Verify in the past, and the issue is currently working its way through the committee process,” Mr. Steel told The Washington Times in an email.
This was great news to hear, especially in conjunction with what the Speaker’s staff was telling citizens who called in response to our ad. The implication of all of it was that the Speaker would be happy to support the mandatory E-Verify bill if it ever gets out of committee.
The problem is that his staff keeps telling callers that the bill is stuck in both the Ways & Means Committee and the Judiciary Committee. But Judiciary passed H.R. 2885 on a 22-13 vote in September and has nothing left to do.
As far as Ways & Means, it is true that Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) still has to sign off on the part of the bill that requires the Social Security Administration to provide notifications when it suspects a worker has stolen an American’s identity to get the job.
But Chairman Camp and his staff have done next to zero since September in even looking at the bill. Citizens calling Camp’s offices today found staffers inaccurately pointing the finger at other committees as having responsibility for stonewalling the bill.
What we found today is that none of these major Republican leaders wants to publicly admit opposition to H.R. 2885. And all want to blame somebody else. But the fact is that Speaker Boehner has at the least allowed Chairman Camp to stop mandatory E-Verify in its tracks. At worst, he has given Chairman Camp the sign that that is what he wants. The latter seems plausible because Speaker Boehner told two of our members last fall in separate states that he had no intention of bringing up E-Verify or any other immigration enforcement legislation for a vote until after the 2012 elections.
Public poking by citizens and news media today is exposing a different story, and I am pleased.
Meanwhile, three of the four Republican presidential candidates have called for E-Verify to be made mandatory as part of their security-first approach. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is the only one who has rejected the idea, arguing that it would turn businesses into immigration police forces.
Mr. Beck said Republicans should see the issue as a winner, not a political liability. He said Democrats already have enough ammunition to attack Republicans for their stance on cracking down on illegal immigration, and there is little left for the GOP to lose by pushing for E-Verify.
A Washington Times/JZ Analytics Poll released Monday found that Republican primary voters were more than willing to accept the political price for a get-tough approach.
By nearly 4-to-1, 68 percent to 18 percent, likely voters said the GOP should pursue stricter enforcement even if it would cost Republicans the support of Hispanics. That was true for self-identified Republicans and for independents who planned to vote during the GOP primaries.
What we have been hearing behind the scenes for six months is that Republican leaders won’t bring E-Verify to a vote because it would offend Hispanic voters.
During more than a week of constant phoning of leaders by grassroots citizens who report back to us what they hear, not a single office has brought up the Hispanic vote issue. That is another victory. It suggests that they don’t feel comfortable using that as an excuse in public for why they are keeping hundreds of thousands of American unemployed by not passing mandatory E-Verify.
It’s a good thing they didn’t claim it because the Times’ poll shows even Republican voters don’t think fear of Hispanic backlash is justification for keeping Americans out of work. (I have to note that Hispanic voters with especially high unemployment would benefit the fastest and the most by mandatory E-Verify because they disproportionately live and work in proximity to illlegal workers.)
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
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