Once again, voters have been denied a chance to see congressional roll call votes on immigration. Despite hundreds of roll call votes on amendments to H.R. 1 (the Continuing Resolution) in the House the last three days, not a single immigration amendment that was introduced actually was allowed to come up for a vote.
Of course, we're happy that amendments to gut funding for immigration enforcement didn't get passed. But because we feel they would have failed, we really would have liked a roll call vote to help us help voters see where their Representatives really stand on these issues.
And we're particularly distressed that the House was not allowed to vote on an amendment by Rep. Goodlatte (R-Va.) to deny funds to the Visa Lottery this year and on an amendment by Rep. Poe (R-Texas) to deny funds to the Justice Department for trying to stop Arizona from enforcing immigration laws.
Our NumbersUSA Capitol Hill Team tells me not to read too much into this.
Still, I am suspicious after what happened the last four years.
Democratic leaders of Senate and House for four years almost completely stopped any votes on immigration from happening except for a couple of hail Mary attempts like their failed effort to pass the DREAM Act amnesty. The reason was that the leaders didn't want Democrats in politicially competitive Districts and states to have any immigration actions on their record that could hurt them for re-election.
At the same time, Republican leaders of the congressional minority also didn't want any immigration votes because they felt voting for less immigration would be too controversial and hurt their Members' chances of re-election. Lobbyists and strategists from the George Bush wing of the Party have the ear of Republican congressional leaders and what they say is what you would expect to hear from George Bush who continues to say that failure to pass the mass amnesty and foreign worker increase was one of the biggest disappointments of his Presidency.
So both Democratic and Republican congressional leaders have engaged in a conspiracy of silence on immigration issues, for the most part. Is that what happened this week? It looks like it. But I can't prove it.
What I do know is that the only way the American people will get reductions in overall immigration and improvement in the jobs competition for unemployed Americans is if voters continue to press each Member of Congress for action soon, for action big and for action in many forms.