SAN DIEGO, August 22, 2014 – If immigration reform was the stock exchange, the 2014 Congressional election cycle is the equivalent of “Black Tuesday”, October 29, 1929.
The big ‘investors’ in immigration reform have cashed out and are running away perhaps to fight another day.
2013 was a banner year for well heeled groups advocating legalization of illegal aliens and an aggressive increase in the number of H1B visas issued to foreign tech workers. There were a handful of major players representing business interests that spent enormous sums attempting to re frame the debate over what some termed as “fixing the broken immigration system” and what others characterized as amnesty and excessive corporate greed.
One of the groups with a high profile in the intense push last year was “Republicans for Immigration Reform” spearheaded by former Bush administration head of the Commerce department, Kelloggs’ CEO and Citigroup V.P., Carlos Gutierrez. Gutierrez, a Cuban immigrant told CNN that Mitt Romney lost his presidential bid because “the far right of the party has taken it to a place where it doesn’t belong”.
Translate that to mean that Romney’s narrative of self deportation of illegals wasn’t employer friendly.
“Republicans for Immigration Reform”, found only a tepid degree of enthusiasm among GOP donors for an aggressive crusade for new immigration legislation. For such organizations to sustain an outreach program nationally, the start up costs are considerable.
Politico notes that “Gutierrez’s group has brought in just $308,000 this cycle, spending the majority of that haul on communications and fundraising consulting fees and legal bills. It has not done an ad buy in 2014 or put any money toward independent expenditures, according to Federal Election Commission records.”
Why amnesty and increased work visa quotas are such a heavy lift is summarized by Charlie Spies with “Republicans for Immigration Reform”. “The problem at the border and the president’s rhetoric on executive action have totally poisoned the well. I don’t think anybody believes anything can happen this year.”
Then there was the ubiquitous Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his Silicon Valley cronies such as Elon Musk of Tesla, Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn and of course, Bill Gates, forming a 501(c)3 called FWD.us to push for access to more foreign labor.
It soon became apparent that in order to grease the skids, FWD.us, would have to do some horse trading with establishment Republicans in the Senate. FWD.us purchased ads providing political cover and support for GOP Senators that were the nucleus of the “Gang of Eight” who worked tirelessly to push SB744 through the Senate.
There was only one little problem with this strategy. Northern California is not only the hub of the nation’s largest tech businesses, but ground zero for leftist Democrat politics and the environmental movement.
These very same GOP Senators supporting more guest workers, were also working to finalize projects like the Keystone XL pipeline.
In fact, the New York Times sums up the blowback Zuckerberg and his colleagues have precipitated in alienating the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters and MoveOn.org, just to name a few.
The group has faced the most vocal criticism for television advertisements sponsored by its two subsidiaries, which are known as Americans for Conservative Action and Council for American Job Growth. One of those spots takes swipes at President Obama’s health policies. Another lauds the Keystone XL pipeline, fiercely opposed by many environmental groups.
FWD.us has pulled in its horns somewhat since and has no pro-immigration reform ads scheduled for this fall, although President Joe Green maintains, “As we have in the past, we will continue in the future to use a variety of tactics including ads to back up our champions and persuade lawmakers to finally fix our broken immigration system.”
Also in the top tier is the American Action Network. Dan Conston of AAN described the group’s activity in previous cycles thusly: “During the heat of the debate, AAN was incredibly engaged in trying to pass immigration reform, from air cover on TV to a ground game in districts to releasing polling, policy studies and more.”
AAN spent $1 million last year for such efforts, but a look at their unofficial donor list on Open Secrets.org, reveals a handful of the usual suspects including one Koch Brothers funded group with a name that is humorously ironic in this context – “Americans For Job Security”.
A more apropos moniker could not have been devised by the “Ministry of Truth”, in George Orwell’s fictional “Airstrip One” super authoritarian state from his iconic, “1984”.
All is quiet on the AAN front at the present and also at former N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Partnership for a New American Economy. These groups have taken the pulse of the American voter and are finding that Americans are not only not focused on so called immigration reform, they are overwhelmingly opposed to it.
Democrat and Republican pollsters alike are finding that immigration reform is very low priority for voters in the House elections. “The national narrative’s wrong,” said Floyd Ciruli, a independent pollster here and a longtime observer of Colorado politics. For most voters, he said, immigration is the sixth or seventh most important issue.”
And a just released poll from Polling Company / Woman Trend finds that:
• 81% of voters support of immigration policies that protect the American workers and allowing workers a fair opportunity to do the jobs that illegal immigrants currently do.
• Americans favor (58%-32%) the three main aspects of recent legislation passed in the House on immigration policy: enforcement of current law, repatriation of young illegal immigrants to their home countries, and limiting the President’s ability to use executive action to legalize immigrants on his own.
• There is a desire (74%-24%) for the President to work with Congress, rather than around them with executive action.
• Strengthen enforcement of current immigration laws.
• Restrict or eliminate public benefits to illegal immigrants – at least adults – and improve enforcement of employment laws.
• Limit chain immigration for legal immigrants to immediate nuclear family (spouse and minor children).
Of particular interest is the discovery that while President Obama is underwater in his job approval rating [57%-40%], more yet, [two-thirds] of Americans disapprove of his handling of immigration. This includes Hispanics, who disapprove of his job performance on immigration by 55 to 39 percent.
Perhaps Americans of all racial, partisan and ethnic persuasions have become sickened from the poison of open borders and the government’s failure to enforce immigration law as evidenced by the outrages, only a sample of which are reported in this video: