On June 27, 2013 the U.S. Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (also called the immigration reform bill S 744) by a vote of 68-32. Despite the anti-immigrant movement’s concerted effort at both the federal and grassroots levels to derail the bill, the push for immigration reform now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives.
The anti-immigrant movement decried the bill’s passage in a number of ways, claiming that the enforcement measures in the bill would not be applied and that the bill’s passage is a costly victory. Some anti-immigrant groups also attacked senators for bowing to the demands of “interest groups,” while others claimed the bill’s passage would lead to a new influx of Democratic voters.
Voicing claims of a costly victory
One of the most popular responses by anti-immigrant groups to the Senate bill’s passage was to call it a “Pyrrhic victory”– one that came at a cost. The anti-immigrant groups claim that the tactics used by the Senate’s “Gang of Eight,” along with the Democratic leadership, to secure enough votes for the bill’s passage “did not win them many friends.” Other groups in the anti-immigrant movement claimed that the passage would be costly for the senators’ re-election hopes, and asserted that the bill “outraged Americans.”
- In a press release issued hours before the final vote was even tallied, the extreme anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), founded by racist John Tanton, issued a press release voicing its opposition. In the release, FAIR president Dan Stein claimed, “The Gang of Eight bill is undoubtedly the most irresponsible piece of immigration legislation in the history of our country. In the end, it will prove a pyrrhic victory for the coalition of special interests that came together to craft this bill."
- The Santa Barbara-based anti-immigrant group Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) wrote blogs in response to the bill’s passage. In a June 27 blog, CAPS Senior Writing Fellow Joe Guzzardi, a former longtime contributor to the extreme anti-immigrant blog VDARE, claimed “The Senate victory came at a high price. In the days leading up to the final vote, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid refused to allow debate amendments that would have secured the border or added E-Verify to the bill to bolster internal enforcement. The media widely reported Reid’s strong-arm tactics and talk show radio exposed the deeply flawed bill as inadequate on security and lax on American worker protections. Neither Reid nor his smoke-filled room of Gang of 8 allies won any friends.”
- James Kirkpatrick, a regular contributor to VDARE, went beyond just calling the Senate’s passing of S744 a “Pyrrhic victory.” He implied that the bill’s passage would threaten the white population. He claimed, “The Treason Lobby won a Pyrrhic victory on Thursday, passing the nation-breaking Amnesty/ Immigration Surge bill through the Senate. This widely-anticipated action led to predictable Main Stream Media ululations, maudlin sentimentality, and veiled racial threats against the historic American nation on the part of the governing class and its clients.”
Claiming the Senators chose to neglect the American worker
In addition to calling the passing of S744 a “Pyrrhic victory,” anti-immigrant groups also attacked senators for allegedly neglecting the voice of the American worker and instead “bowing” to the demands of corporations. The anti-immigrant movement has long used the tactic of claiming to stand for the rights of “the American worker.” Another tactic the anti-immigrant movement often uses is populism, claiming that the elites are out of touch with the masses. In this case, the anti-immigrant groups constantly claim that corporate lobbyists and “powerful interests” are not in line with the beliefs of American workers.
- On June 27, the anti-immigrant group NumbersUSA, which claims to support the rights of the American worker, decried the passing of S744. NumbersUSA President Roy Beck wrote on the group’s site, “The willingness of every single Democratic Senator and almost a third of Republicans to accept the corporate lobbyists' insistence that our country faces devastating labor shortages is disheartening to all of us who have fought so hard to protect the 20 million Americans who can't find a full-time job, and the millions more who have seen their real wages declining for decades during a worker surplus.”
- Negative Population Growth (NPG), another Beltway-based anti-immigrant group, also attacked the senators for listening to elites. In a June 28 press release, NPG President Donald Mann claimed, “Sadly, by passing this extremely flawed legislation, the majority of Senators bowed to the demands of powerful interests who demand cheap labor and open doors for tens of millions of new immigrants arriving in our country in the coming decades.”
Arguing that the enforcement measures in S744 will not be implemented
The anti-immigrant movement has also voiced the argument that the enforcement measures in the Senate bill will not be implemented. Even though S744 contains strict enforcement measures designed to bolster America’s security, the anti-immigrant movement believes that after the 11 million undocumented become legalized, the security measures in the bill will be swept under the carpet.
- On July 1, Michael Cutler, a Senior Fellow for CAPS and a former fellow at the anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) stated, “It is inconceivable that any responsible political leader would consider supposed border security a bargaining chip in a political debate. Border security should be a given, especially as the United States faces the threats posed by international terrorists and transnational gangs from the four corners of the earth.”
- In the same press release mentioned above, FAIR President Dan Stein stated, “The Senate is primed to pass an immigration bill that promises only more chaos, confusion and lawlessness. Sadly, the Gang of Eight bill, likely to be approved today in the Senate, repeats the failed policy of amnesty for illegal aliens in exchange for worthless promises of immigration enforcement in the future.”
Pushing the theory that immigrants will only vote for the Democratic Party
A final response to the passage of S744 is John Tanton’s claim that the 11 million undocumented immigrants who would be put on a pathway to citizenship will vote for the Democratic Party after receiving their citizenship. According to the Washington Post, Tanton outlined a strategy in a 2001 letter to convince Republican lawmakers to change the way they think about immigrants. Tanton wanted to “change Republicans’ perception of immigration so that when they encounter the word ‘immigrant,’ their reaction is ‘Democrat.’”
- On June 27, Michael McLaughlin, the Vice President of the American Council for Immigration Reform (ANCIR) promoted the theory of immigrants voting for the Democratic Party in an article published by the American Thinker. He claimed, “More than 50% of the 11 million receiving amnesty are high school dropouts. They will be an increasing burden on our social safety net. Immigrants, legal and illegal, use welfare programs to a much higher degree than the native born. And they vote Democrat by more than two to one. Every ten years we have what amounts to an amnesty through our legal immigration policies. The status quo will make the Democrats the permanent majority party. Amnesty just hastens the process.”
- On June 27, William Gheen, the founder of the North Carolina based anti-immigrant group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), wrote an email to ALIPAC members also arguing that the undocumented immigrants will only benefit the Democratic Party. In the email he claimed that one of the results of the bill if it is signed into law will be “permanent Democratic super majorities in the US House and Senate, no GOP presidents for the next 50 years…”