House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi cheerfully led Spanish-language chants of “Si se puede” — or “Yes we can” — at a rally Tuesday for amnesty and immigration, but turnout for the event at the National Mall was far below the organizers’ predictions of 100,000 attendees.
The barriers at the event were set to accommodate 35,000 people, but less than half the area was occupied. Loudspeakers and a large display screen at the rear of the area were almost devoid of listeners or viewers.
The rally was held on public land during a widely hyped government shutdown that has seen the Obama administration rigidly shut tourists, property owners and even World War II veterans out of federally controlled areas. (Related: Obama OKs illegals’ march on Mall, still blocks Americans)
The disappointing turnout, and the poor turnout at a series of Oct. 5 events, will reduce lobbyists’ pressure on the GOP leadership to back a major rewrite of the immigration law, said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
Progressives and business leaders, such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, are working hand-in-glove to pressure the GOP to pass an immigration rewrite. The Senate rewrite, passed in July, would provide an amnesty for 11 million workers, double legal immigration to 2 million per year, and double the number of resident non-agriculture guest-workers above 1.5 million.
Their strategy calls for unions to “rally illegals in the street, and business lobbyists behind closed doors will use the [GOP's] fear of those demonstrations to get their corporate welfare,” Krikorian told The Daily Caller.
“But if the street demonstrations don’t pan out, that weakens the message of the business lobby,” he said.
Under the Senate bill, which was passed in July, 33 million immigrants would be given green cards by 2033. The inflow of mostly low-skill immigrants would shift more of the nation’s income from wage earners to property owners and investors, according to a July report by the Congressional Budget Office.
The influx would also provide the Democratic Party with millions of new voters after about a decade.
Democrats are working hard to get those Latinos to the ballot box, even at the risk of alienating their base of working-class voters.
Democrats recognize that most immigrants vote Democratic. In 2012, Obama won 71 percent of the Latino vote, and other Democrats hope to repeat that score in 2016.
Immigrants are more likely to vote Democratic because they are poorer, less educated and more reliant on welfare than native-born Americans. They also reduce employers’ need to compete for American employees, minimizing Americans’ wage growth.