Thursday, July 17, 2008

Restrictionist Take on Elections

NumbersUSA, founded in 1997, is one of a trinity of closely related policy organizations dedicated to restrict immigration flows. It describes itself as a “nonprofit, nonpartisan, public policy organization that favors an environmentally sustainable and economically just America.”
The other two major restrictionist organizations based in Washington, DC area are the Center for Immigration Studies and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
NumbersUSA was the lead organization is mobilizing grassroots opposition to the proposed comprehensive immigration reform bill that the Senate was considering in June 2007. Its organizing efforts proved a tremendous boost to its membership base. It now boasts that it counts on 640,000 members with an average of 1,300 members in every congressional district.
Commenting on the Obama and McCain candidacies, Beck told the Los Angeles Times, "These two guys were pretty much at the bottom of all the candidates. They're the worst, the bottom of the barrel, that ended up winning."
“That's the reality we're dealing with: a choice we don't consider a choice," said Beck. "The chances of influencing one of these two guys to take a pro-worker, pro-environment position are very low.” However, he said that "bringing public pressure to bear to not dismantle enforcement and improve border security has some chance of success."
NumbersUSA tracks the immigration positions of congressional candidates and members, as well as presidential contenders. It sponsors the Americans for Better Immigration website ( that grades candidates and notes the ones that are “True Immigration Reform Candidates.” While not endorsing candidates, NumbersUSA does promote the reelection of the members of the Immigration Reform Caucus.
Americans for Better Immigration “believes the problem with immigration today is not the individual immigrant but the numbers. ‘Better’ immigration is lower immigration.” While Beck, like other restrictionist leaders, is not pleased with either presidential candidate, he says NumbersUSA is focusing on building local opposition to liberal immigration reform and support for such restrictionist bills as the SAVE Act.
In Beck’s view, a Democratic Congress "doesn't necessarily mean bad things for us." He points out that some freshman Democrats who beat Republican incumbents in 2006 are tough on illegal immigration because "they need a way to show people that they're different from the party leadership." "We've spent the last seven years separating the Republican back bench from the party leadership with tremendous success," Beck told the Los Angeles Times, adding that his sights are now on the Democrats. "We'll continue to push that line hard."
Photo: Roy Beck, NumbersUSA

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