Support For Amnesty Is Only Strong With Elites, Not Regular Americans

Virgil Goode Former Congressman (R-VA)
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When announcing on June 30 that he would take unspecified executive actions on immigration at the end of the summer, President Obama made two contradictory statements. First he claimed that amnesty “enjoy[s] the wide support of the American people.” At the same time, he suggested that Congress could enact a “comprehensive bill” after the midterm elections, when Congress is “less worried about politics.”

If a “comprehensive bill” has such “wide support” from the American people, one would think that politicians would be eager to vote for it before the election.

The president appended his comments about widespread support by noting that “it’s very rare where you get labor, business, evangelicals, law enforcement, all agreeing on what needs to be done.”

The president is correct when he says evangelical leaders, labor union bureaucrats, politically appointed police chiefs, and corporate lobbies all support amnesty. However police officers on the beat, small business owners, blue collar workers, and evangelical laymen all oppose it.

Contrary to the cries of corporate lobbyists that immigration control is bad for American business, the majority of small business owners are patriotic Americans who want to play by the rules. In 2010, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and Zogby polled business executives and small business owners, asking if they would rather increase immigration enforcement to encourage illegal aliens to return home or support conditional legalization.

When CIS/Zogby asked the same question to union members and their families, they also supported enforcement over amnesty by a 2-1 margin. Earlier this year, Rasmussen polled union members and found that 90 percent thought that reducing illegal immigration should be a top priority.

This should surprise no one. Illegal immigrants directly undercut the wages of working class Americans. In the past, labor leaders from Samuel Gompers to Caesar Chavez understood this and opposed mass immigration. Today, with the exclusion of the border patrol and ICE officer unions, every single union in America supports amnesty.

Why is this? Union leaders support mass immigration for two reasons. The first is that more and more working class Americans are leaving labor unions, and so big labor sees immigrants as possible new members. The second is that they depend on the Democratic Party and care more about electing liberal politicians than the interests of their own members.

Then-Congressman Barney Frank admitted as much in 2006 when he told the National Journal that mass immigration was “bad for blue-collars.” However, he still supported amnesty because the immigrants would elect Democrats who would “significantly strengthen unions” and “offset the negative effect on the income of workers.”

This is also the reason why many big city police chiefs — who are often little more than apparatchiks of the Democratic Party — embrace sanctuary cities and other pro-illegal policies at behest of the left-wing mayors who appoint them.

However, elected sheriffs who are accountable directly to the people, such as Joe Arpaio and Paul Babeu are more likely to support immigration enforcement. Officers on the beat who risk being killed by violent illegal aliens are even more in favor of enforcement. After Arizona enacted SB 1070, PoliceOne, a news and discussion site for law enforcement officers, ran an Associated Press article entitled “Arizona’s tough new law..is dividing police.” Police One editor Doug Wylie noted “within days, the article garnered nearly 100 comments from PoliceOne members — the overwhelming majority … were in enthusiastic support of the Arizona law.” However, Wylie noted, police chiefs from Los Angeles, San Jose, Salt Lake City, and the head of the Police Executive Research Forum met with Eric Holder to help fight the law.

While the heads of many evangelical organizations support amnesty, the actual members oppose it. In 2010, a CIS/Zogby poll found that born-again protestants supported enforcement over amnesty by over a 6-1 margin. This year, the liberal Brookings Institute found that white evangelicals were the religious group least likely to support mass immigration.

Additionally, smaller congregations who are not subject to political pressure also oppose amnesty. When the National Association of Evangelical’s board voted to support amnesty in 2009, 75 percent of the member denominations refused to join the cause.

Contrary to Obama’s claim, amnesty enjoys “wide support” of the American elite, but not the American people. As disgraceful as Obama’s immigration policies are, even if we elect a conservative Republican president in 2016, the same unholy alliance of big labor, big business, corrupt clergy, and other elites will be push for mass immigration and amnesty.

Labor union members need to demand their leaders put the interests of blue collar workers before the Democratic Party. Small businessmen need to tell the Chamber of Commerce they care more about the rule of law than cheap labor. And evangelicals, as well as all people of faith, need to demand that their leaders acknowledge that there is nothing Christian about supporting lawbreaking.