A new campaign-trail pledge to vote against any immigration increases took center stage in the Nebraska GOP Senate primary race on Friday, when candidate Shane Osborne slammed his rival for not signing the pledge and also charged him with deception.
“Nebraskans are learning that Ben Sasse isn’t the candidate he’s pretending to be [and] on the most important issues of the day, from Immigration to ObamaCare, Sasse is no conservative,” said a statement from the campaign, only four days before voting begins on Tuesday.
“We had not heard of this pledge until late morning today,” Sasse’s spokesman, Jordan Gerhke said Friday when The Daily Caller asked if Sasse would sign the pledge to vote against increased immigration.
“We are getting in touch with [the organizers], to be briefed on their pledge and to have a serious policy discussion,” he said.
The pledge dispute emerged the same day that The Daily Caller discovered that the university run by Ben Sasse, the other leading candidate in the three-person race, had requested visas to bring in several low-wage foreign graduates for jobs that could be performed by Americans.
In 2013, Midland University asked the federal government for approval to import an adjunct professor of economics, a sports coach and an admissions counselor. In 2012, Sasse’s university asked to import a soccer coach and a computer expert, instead of hiring young Americans.
“Our campaign will continue to focus on Shane [Osborne’s] opposition to amnesty,” said a statement from Obsorne’s press secretary, Bill Novotny.
“I cannot comment on Midland’s hiring practices but it does appear that once again Ben’s [immigration] rhetoric does not match his actions,” he added.
Sasse’s spokesman said he only learned of the foreign hiring from the TheDC, and promised to find out about the circumstances.
One of the requests was for a British person to teach British-themed soccer, Gehrke said, adding “I can’t speak to anything else.”
The hiring of guest-worker graduates by universities is widespread, uncapped, unrestricted, rarely rejected by the federal government, and rarely described in the media.
Nationwide, more than 1,000 university-affiliated employers have asked to hire long-term foreign graduates during the last few years. Two universities requested more than 1,000 foreign professionals, and at least 80 universities sought more than 100 foreign professionals.
Nebraska universities have requested more than 500 foreign graduates since 2011. Nebraska employers, including the universities, have asked for 1,658 foreign graduates in 2013 and 2014.
The immigration rewrite approved by the Senate last June would roughly triple the annual inflow of university-level guest workers for the next decade, if it is backed by the GOP before January.
Currently, more than 600,000 graduate guest-workers are working in the United States. That’s almost equal to the 800,000 Americans who graduate with business, medical or technical degrees each year.
In recent years, the wage of graduates have stalled, and more have been forced to take lower-wage jobs.
The new three-point pledge, drafted by an affiliate of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, asks candidates to make three easily-tracked promises.
The pledge asks if the candidates would promise to “oppose or support legislation that would grant any form of work authorization to illegal aliens… oppose or support legislation that would increase the overall number of immigrants (legal permanent residents/green card holders) admitted each year to the U.S…. [and] oppose or support legislation that would increase the overall number of guest workers admitted each year to the U.S.”
The pledge is intended to cut through campaign-trail rhetoric, in which business-backed candidates simultaneously say they’re against an amnesty for illegal immigrants, but also say they would allow the illegals to stay and compete for jobs against young Americans.
“We want everybody to sign the pledge… the more the merrier,” said Dan Stein, director of the FAIR Congressional Task Force, a 501(c)(4) which advocates for reducing the current immigration inflow of 1 million people per year.
The questions are framed to help candidate make it clear to voters where they stand, “beyond the question of yes and no on amnesty’,” he told The Daily Caller.
Business groups tend to financially support candidates who will increase the inflow of foreign workers and customers into the United States.
But voters strongly oppose increased immigration and the use of guest-workers. Under current rules, the United States accepts 1 million immigrants and 650,000 guest workers each year to compete for jobs against the roughly four million Americans who turn 18 each year. However, progressives and wealthy Americans support increased immigration.
Under campaign-trail pressure, many politicians equivocate, and try to avoid taking positions that will anger either donors or voters. This equivocation makes it harder for elected legislators to reject business pressure for more immigration and guest-worker.
Sasse “is for securing the border and opposed to any effort to make a deal with President [Barack] Obama,” Gehrke said.
Obama’s demand for more immigration “is not about the immigration problem —it is about the radical left’s agenda to turn Texas purple” by adding Democratic-leaning immigrants, he said. Progressives “want to do with Texas what they they did in California in 1986,” he said.
If elected, Sasse won’t make any immigration deal with Obama, he said. “No deal with President Obama — you can’t trust him,” he said.
Sasse is backed by the libertarian Freedom Works group, and by several Tea Party-backed politicians, including Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee.
Osborne signed the FAIR pledge on Friday, and promised to oppose increased immigration and the use of guest-workers.