Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What the heck can I do? Get busy!

I've been ranting and gnashing my teeth a lot lately over this stupid amnesty... errrr, uh, excuse me... "immigration reform" effort in Congress recently. Now, partly thanks to Kentucky's own Senator McConnell, this idiocy is being resurrected for yet more compromises and more votes.

I stay informed as an activist as well as a blogger on this particular issue. It's time to share some inside "activist" scoop with you... For anyone who watches the news, reads the paper, reads the blogs, and wonders how he/she can make a difference in this current debate, here's the scoop from Roy Beck at NumbersUSA on everything you need to know and need to do to make your voice heard by Congress above the fray.
Voting on whether to bring the Kennedy/Bush Comprehensive Amnesty bill back to the floor of the Senate could begin as early as tomorrow (Wednesday). And if that wins, a cloture vote could occur Friday.

All of us must tell our Senators that any YES vote on any provision that puts the bill on the floor or moves it forward WILL be considered a VOTE FOR AMNESTY. Insist on a NO for all procedural votes.

[Linked below are] two short papers that will be of great help to you as you contact your two U.S. Senators today:
If you've ever lacked confidence in arguing for defeat of the S. 1348 amnesty bill, these are the short documents you've needed.


ACTION No. 1:

Phone both of your Senators today. Choose one or two of the flaws to talk about in your call. You can reach the D.C. office of ALL Senators at: 202-224-3121

Tell them it will not be enough to vote NO on the final passage. If they want credit for opposing amnesty, they have to vote NO on all clotures and other procedural votes that would allow the bill back on the floor in the first place.

Last year, several Senators voted YES on cloture when their NO vote would have made the most difference but then voted NO on the final vote when they had no chance of killing the amnesty.

We won't let anybody get by with that this year.

Many of you last week complained that your Senators seemed to have turned their phones off as you could never get through. We've talked with many staffers in the Senate who said that turning off the phones is just too radical and never really happens.

The staffers said you couldn't get through because the volume of phone calling was so high. There were Senate offices last week in which the phones rang as fast as they were hung up. Way to go!

If you have trouble getting through to the DC office, then call local offices in your state. You can see all local phone numbers of Senators at http://numbersusa.com/congressinfo/


THESE SENATORS VOTED 'NO' TWO WEEKS AGO BUT NEED A LOT MORE PUSH TO VOTE 'NO' THIS WEEK

Our coalition of advocacy and Senate allies say they are very hopeful to win these Senators over but that they also could easily vote YES at this point.

If we defeat the amnesty this week, it will be because you did a fantastic job in getting nearly all of these to vote NO.

Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-Calif.)
Burr (R-N.C.)
Chambliss (R-Ga.)
Cochran (R-Miss.)
Ensign (R-Nev.)
Gregg (R-N.H.)
Hatch (R-Utah)
Hutchison (R-Texas)
Isakson (R-Ga.)
Smith (R-Oregon)
Sununu (R-N.H.)
Sanders (I-Vt.)
Webb (D-Va.)

Thank these Senators for their NO vote and then read a couple of flaws to help them understand why they should keep voting NO.


VOTED 'YES' ON AMNESTY 2 WEEKS AGO BUT CONSIDERED GOOD POSSIBILITIES TO SWITCH TO 'NO' THIS WEEK IF THEIR CONSTITUENTS PROVIDE THEM ENOUGH REASON

Conrad (D-N.D.)
Levin (D-Mich.)
Nelson (D-Neb.)
Stabenow (D-Mich.)


CONSIDERED LONG-SHOTS FOR VOTING 'NO' THIS WEEK EVEN THOUGH THEY VOTED 'NO' ON AMNESTY 2 WEEKS AGO

These folks need a whole lot of help. Please give it to them. Tell them they were right to vote NO two weeks ago and that no amendment that has been proposed for this round will make the bill enough better to deserve a YES vote this week. Thus, they should vote NO on all attempts to even bring this bill to a floor and vote NO on any attempt to try to bring up a package of amendments.

Bennett (R-Utah)
Brownback (R-Kan.) -- didn't vote 2 weeks ago but generally pro-amnesty
Coleman (R-Minn.)
Collins (R-Maine)
Domenici (R-N.M.)
McConnell (R-Ky.)
Murkowski (R-Alaska)
Snowe (R-Maine)
Stevens (R-Alaska)
Warner (R-Va.)

PRO-AMNESTY SENATORS WITH A SLIGHT POSSIBILITY OF BEING SWITCHED

Because of opposition from labor unions to the guest worker provisions, a few of these Democrats might switch if they felt enough heat from their constituents.

You should not give up on these Senators. At the very least, make them feel nervous about casting a YES vote. Several of these are presidential candidates who have to be thinking how this will affect them in the general election.

Bayh (D-Ind.)
Biden (D-Del.)
Brown (D-Ohio)
Casey (D-Pa.)
Clinton (D-N.Y.)
Craig (R-Idaho)
Durbin (D-Ill.)
Dodd (D-Conn.)
Feingold (D-Wis.)
Harkin (D-Iowa)
Inouye (D-Hawaii)
Kohl (D-Wis.)
Kyl (R-Ariz.)
Lautenberg (D-N.J.)
Leahy (D-Vt.)
Lincoln (D-Ark.)
Lott (R-Miss.)
Murray (D-Wash.)
Nelson (D-Fla.)
Obama (D-Ill.)
Reed (D-R.I.)
Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
Wyden (D-Oregon)

SENATORS WHO APPEAR TO BE 'LOST CAUSES' BUT WHO SHOULD FEEL THE WRATH FOR THEIR ABSOLUTE CALLOUSNESS TOWARD AMERICAN WORKERS AND COMMUNITIES

Akaka (D-Hawaii)
Cantwell (D-Wash.)
Cardin (D-Md.)
Carper (D-Del.)
Feinstein (D-Calif.)
Graham (R-S.C.)
Hagel (R-Neb.)
Kennedy (D-Mass.)
Kerry (D-Mass.)
Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
Lieberman (I-Conn.)
Lugar (R-Ind.)
Martinez (R-Fla.)
McCain (R-Ariz.)
Menendez (D-N.J.)
Mikulski (D-Md.)
Reid (D-Nev.)
Salazar (D-Colo.)
Specter (R-Pa.)
Voinovich (R-Ohio)

THESE SENATORS ARE OUR CHAMPIONS AND DON'T NEED PHONE CALLS RIGHT NOW

Bunning (R-Ky.) [**Note from CC: THANK YOU, SENATOR BUNNING!**]
Byrd (D-W.Va.)
Coburn (R-Okla.)
DeMint (R-S.C.)
Dole (R-N.C.)
Dorgan (D-N.D.)
Enzi (R-Wyo.)
Inhofe (R-Okla.)
McCaskill (D-Mo.)
Roberts (R-Kan.)
Sessions (R-Ala.)
Shelby (R-Ala.)
Tester (D-Mont.)
Vitter (R-La.)

PROBABLY VOTING 'NO' BUT MAY NEED SOME EXTRA CALLS FROM YOU

Alexander (R-Tenn.)
Allard (R-Colo.)
Baucus (D-Mont.)
Bond (R-Mo.)
Corker (R-Tenn.)
Cornyn (R-Texas)
Crapo (R-Idaho)
Grassley (R-Iowa)
Landrieu (D-La.)
Pryor (D-Ark.)
Rockefeller (D-W.Va.)
Thune (R-S.D.)


ACTION No. 2:
Visit your Senators' local offices today and tomorrow (unless your Senator is listed in GREEN above). Print out the two-page talking-point papers we've provided you and take them with you to the offices.

Continuous phoning and faxing are needed. But those of you who will physically go to a Senate office in your home state will have a huge extra impact. You can see the addresses of all your Senators' local offices by clicking here.

It is always easier if you take something with you that you can read from or point to or just hand over to a staffer.

I think the message that staffers most need to hear is that you have to believe that the Senator has been misinformed if he/she is supporting S. 1348. Then point out one or two of the flaws we've listed on the print-outs.

Here are items you might want to print out and take with you:
  • Your Senator's entire record of immigration actions. Let the staffers know that they can't hide anything -- that NumbersUSA publicizes every move and never forgets. And you can pick out specific actions in the past that you laud or condemn.
  • Your Senator's overall immigration-reduction grade. If they have a good grade, tell them that the grade will plummet if they vote to bring this bill back to the floor. If they have a bad grade, tell them they have a chance to greatly improve the grade by just standing with the people of your state against all efforts to bring it to the floor.
  • Any kind of home made sign that you can hold up while waiting on the sidewalk would enhance the influence of your participation.
  • Print a still photo of our NumbersUSA ad that is running in Mississippi right now, challenging Sen. Lott (R-Miss.) for having led the effort to bring the amnesty back to the floor. See the TV ad.
Help your Senators' staffers imagine this kind of ad running in their state if they vote YES on amnesty.


THE DOZEN BIG FLAWS IN THIS BILL


You can view a cleaner copy of this and one that will print better for distribution by clicking here.

Many of the waffling Senators are giving as their excuse for considering a YES vote on the amnesty that this bill will begin to reduce future illegal immigration which is better than doing nothing.

[Roy Beck of NumbersUSA] was on a radio show this morning in Jackson, Miss., in which the host repeatedly argued with me that anybody opposing this bill is supporting doing nothing because the Democratic leaders of Senate and House will not allow any enforcement to go through without an amnesty.

We at NumbersUSA reject this reasoning.

We confidently believe that if this grand amnesty compromise is defeated that the Democrats will feel enough pressure to start passing single initiatives that will gradually improve the tools of enforcement -- and that the American people and our allies in Congress can shame Pres. Bush into starting to implement more of the enforcement laws already on the books.

Please read, quote and paraphrase the following 14 flaws over and over to your Senators and staff.

Senate Proposal is Full of Holes


Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has been a stalwart proponent of curbing illegal immigration and reforming the legal immigration apparatus in a truly meaningful manner. To that end, on June 4, in the middle of the first round of floor debate on the so-called “grand bargain” immigration bill, Sen. Sessions issued a press release listing egregious loopholes in the proposal, including “flaws effecting border security, chain-migration and assimilation policies.”

In prefacing the list, Sen. Sessions indicated that he is “deeply concerned about the numerous loopholes…found in this legislation,” which he sees as “more than technical errors, but rather symptoms of a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation that stands no chance of actually fixing our broken immigration system.” Furthermore, Sen. Sessions said, “Many of the loopholes are indicative of a desire not to have the system work.”

Flaw No. 1: Sen. Sessions pointed to perhaps the biggest flaw by noting that the “‘enforcement trigger’ fails to require the U.S. VISIT system – the biometric border check-in/check-out system established by Congress in 1996, but never implemented – to be fully functioning before new worker or amnesty programs begin. Without the system in place, the U.S. has no method of ensuring that workers and their families do not overstay their visas.”

Flaw No. 2: While most Americans tell pollsters they want less immigration, this bill dramatically increases overall immigration. It TRIPLES chain migration through the year 2016 – all the while sanctioning a mass importation of low-skill foreign workers and, by extension, a mass importation of poverty into this country.

Flaw No. 3: Illegal aliens get “legal status before enforcement” begins;

Flaw No. 4: The “triggers” require “no more agents, beds, or fencing than current law” mandates;

Flaw No. 5: The completion of background checks, including checks against criminal and terrorist databases, is “not required for” the granting of amnesty (in this bill, it is referred to as “probationary status”).

Flaw No. 6: Criminals of all kinds – including gang members, some child molesters, and absconders (i.e., “aliens who have already had their day in court and who are now subject to…removal” covering “more than 636,000 fugitives”) are eligible for the bill’s mass amnesty;

Flaw No. 7: “Illegal aliens with terrorism connections are not barred from getting amnesty. An illegal alien seeking most immigration benefits must merely show ‘good moral character.’”

Flaw No. 8: Illegal aliens granted amnesty or guestworkers imported via the new “Y” “temporary worker” program can claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, which “will cost taxpayers billions in just 10 years”;

Flaw No. 9: “Affidavits from friends” are acceptable as evidence of satisfying requirements for amnesty, thus “invite fraud and more illegal immigration”;

Flaw No. 10: “In-state tuition and other higher education benefits…will be made available to current illegal aliens that are granted amnesty, even if the same instate tuition rates are not offered to all U.S. citizens,” a violation of current Federal law, which “mandates that educational institutions give citizens the same postsecondary education benefits they offer to illegal aliens”;

Flaw No. 11: New visas are created for individuals who are prone to overstaying their period of authorized admission – namely, the new “parent” visa, which allows parents of citizens, and the spouses and children of new temporary workers, to visit a worker in the United States. Not only is this term “a misnomer, but also an invitation for high rates of visa overstays” because it “specifically allows the spouse and children of new temporary workers who intend to abandon their residence in a foreign country, to qualify to come to the U.S. to ‘visit.’” To obtain the visa, one must only post a $1,000 bond, “which will be forfeited when, not if, family members of new temporary workers decide to overstay their 30 day visit. Workers should travel to their home countries to visit their families, not the other way around”;

Flaw No. 12: To be granted amnesty, illegal aliens need not pay back income taxes;

Flaw No. 13: Social Security credits for work done while in the United States illegally will be granted to “aliens who came to the U.S. on legal visas, but overstayed their visas and have been working in the U.S. for years, as well as illegal aliens who apply for Z visa status but do not qualify”; and,

Flaw No. 14: “The criminal fines an illegal alien is required to pay to receive amnesty are less than the bill’s criminal fines for paperwork violations committed by U.S. citizens, and can be paid by installment,” which means that “the fine for illegally entering, using false documents to work, one-tenth the fine for a paperwork violation committed by a government official.

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