Exclusive: Roy Beck From NumbersUSA — Amnesty Won’t Pass House Or Senate
While acknowledging that the recession makes the political battle more difficult, President Barack Obama plans to begin addressing America’s immigration system this year, including looking for a path for illegal immigrants to become legal, a senior administration official said Wednesday.
Obama will frame the new effort — likely to rouse passions on all sides of the highly divisive issue — as “policy reform that controls immigration and makes it an orderly system,” said the official, Cecilia Munoz, deputy assistant to the president and director of intergovernmental affairs in the White House.
Obama plans to speak publicly about the issue in May, administration officials said, and over the summer he will convene working groups, including lawmakers from both parties and a range of immigration organizations, to begin discussing possible legislation for as early as this fall.
Some White House officials said immigration would not take precedence over the health care and energy proposals that Obama has identified as priorities. But the timetable is consistent with pledges that Obama made to Latino groups in last year’s campaign.
He said then that comprehensive immigration legislation, including a plan to make legal status possible for an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants, would be a priority in his first year in office. Latino voters turned out strongly for Obama in the election.
I have absolutely no doubt that Barack Obama would love to push amnesty through; however, my gut instinct is that he’s going to turn out to be all talk and no action on this issue.
Well, I think Obama feels a need to throw a bone to the liberal Hispanic groups that helped get him elected. So, he’s bringing this up to give them the impression he’s working hard on an issue they care about.
However, yesterday I did a long interview with Roy Beck from NumbersUSA. NumbersUSA is the premier anti-amnesty/anti-open borders group in the country. They have over 900,000 members and they know what’s going on in Congress on this issue like few other people. In fact, we had to stop the interview yesterday for 15 minutes because a Congressman (I don’t know which one) was calling Roy to chat.
Because of its length (It was about an hour), the full interview isn’t transcribed yet. However, we did talk about the prospects of an amnesty bill passing Congress and he thought it was unlikely to pass the House OR the Senate.
Here’s some of what Roy told me about this issue: On the Senate:
“I’m not sure McCain will vote for an amnesty this time…he’s like Bush. This thing is an emotional thing for him. But …by the time he got to South Carolina, he was running ads about how he was the enforcement guy and he had erred in trying to resolve the illegal population before the enforcement…He managed to squeak out these victories (in the primaries) because he persuaded enough people he wasn’t an amnesty guy. So, he could still support amnesty, but there has gotta be tough, tough, tough enforcement and the indications are that the Democrats…are saying now that they’re in such power, they say that a lot of the enforcement stuff in the 2007 amnesty was unfair and mean, and they’re not going to have all of that. I also think there’s a good chance the Democrats would bring forth an amnesty program with no guest worker program in it. So, I think there are a lot of reasons why McCain can say, ‘That’s not the kind of amnesty I can support.’
…I think they could pass it if all of us in the non-mainstream media…just stay back and are quiet. But, that’s not going to happen. We’re going to throw everything we’ve got into it.
Just look at the Senate. It looks like there’s going to be a good chance that the Senate is going to have 59 Democrats. …There were about 15 Democrats who voted against the amnesty in 2007. I think we ought to get about half of those and maybe more. If you got 8 Democrats to vote against it, that means you’d need 9 Republicans. I don’t see it. At most, I see 6 and they might not get but 2 or 3 — especially if they offend McCain.”
On the House:
“I don’t think Pelosi thinks she has the votes. …She goes out and makes statements that get all of us all upset and gets her applause from the Hispanic caucus. But …there were right around 50 Democrats who co-sponsored the SAVE ACT last year, which was a very, very strong enforcement bill. This amnesty will not have nearly the strength of that. I think one of the reasons that those Democrats signed that bill is that they’re from districts whose constituents are pushing them hard on this. So, I think we’d have a good chance to get 60-70 Democrats in the House to vote against that and I don’t think we ought to lose more than a half dozen Republicans. If we did that well, then we’d beat it in the House.”