Amnesty Victory in Senate – 2 of 3 Stripped

Posted on Wed 05/21/2008 by

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VICTORY: AgJOBS amnesty stripped from Iraq Supplemental

Your Phone Calls Worked!

Friends,

CONGRATULATIONS! You have achieved what some believed to be nearly impossible last week. The AgJOBS amnesty has been stripped from the Iraq Supplemental bill. Here’s more good news: the employment-based permanent workers have been stripped from the bill too!

Unfortunately, the H-2B low-sill worker increase is still in the Iraq Supplemental so your phone calls are still needed.

Please keep phoning your Senators throughout the day and ask them to strip the H-2B increase from the Iraq Supplemental spending bill. During your call, you may also want to express how pleased you were to learn that the amnesty and employment-based permanent workers were stripped from the bill.

202-224-3121

Our Capitol Hill team heard initial reports late last night that the AgJOBS amnesty had been stripped from the bill, but we wanted to await confirmation of that before reporting back to you.

Apparently Senate Majority Leader Reid and other Senators were starting to fear a prolonged fight over the immigration provisions, similar to the Senate fight last summer over the “comprehensive” immigration bill. In order to avoid that, Senator Reid stripped the AgJOBS amnesty and employment-based permanent increases from the bill.

Your Phone Calls Made This Happen Our Capitol Hill team is hearing from one Congressional office after another that their phones have been ringing off the hook in opposition to the immigration provisions in the Iraq Supplemental.

There is still a chance we can get the H-2B increase stripped from the bill if Senators come to believe that it is just too controversial. We will come to you again later in the day or evening as we have new information.

BACKGROUND
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 17-12 to attach an amnesty to the Iraq supplemental spending bill. The amendment that passed provides a 5-year visa for up to 1.35 million illegal agricultural workers-but the cap of 1.35 million does not include spouses and children, who would bring the total amnesty to a total of about 3 million.

Rosemary Jenks (Vice President, Government Relations) has outlined the most egregious aspects of the amnesty here. Find it online here http://www.numbersusa.com/PDFs/AgJOBS_Amnesty_2008.pdf.

In short, the AgJOBS amendment would require the Department of Homeland Security to grant “emergency agricultural worker status” (i.e., amnesty) for up to five years to as many as 1.35 million illegal aliens, plus their spouses and children.

Last Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee added several immigration amendments to the version of the Iraq Supplemental they were marking up.

The immigration amendments include the Feinstein AgJOBS-lite amendment, which passed by a recorded vote of 17-12; and the Mikulski H-2B amendment which would, for the next three years, exempt from the annual cap of 66,000 any H-2B workers who were admitted during the previous three years. (The impact on the numbers could be exponential–they could rise from 66,000 in FY 2008 to over 400,000 by FY2011.) This passed by a recorded vote of 23-6!

In a somewhat unexpected move, the Senate began debate on the Iraq Supplemental Spending bill late in the day on Tuesday of this week. Senator Byrd (D-WV) filed three substitution amendments Monday night to H.R. 2642 (to replace all the House language in three parts). This is a similar tactic the House used during debate on their version of the Iraq supplemental bill last week: divide the bill in three to give cover to the different party constituencies. The AgJOBS language is in the first amendment (SA 4786).

CONGRATULATIONS!

Rosemary reminded me this morning that we won’t be totally safe until the bill is off of the Senate floor, but we are in much better shape this morning than we were last night and you are the reason why. Once again, you have shown the power of citizen-activism and reminded Congress that their immigration actions are being watched.

Thank you for reminding our elected officials of the immigration wishes of your fellow Americans.

ANNE

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