Fund raisers court opposite sides in immigration
GOP Has Two Faces on Immigration
it comes to immigration, the Republican Party has two faces.
One face is shown to Hispanics and business groups. The other
one is shown only to conservative grassroots supporters.
Not only do Republican leaders want more immigration, they
want to please both the supporters and the opponents of mass
It's a tough balancing act, even for skilled Washington politicians.
But the evidence emerging from the Republican Party's fund
raising efforts show that the GOP hopes to gain by taking
both sides of the immigration debate. Party operatives are
assuring wealthy corporate donors it supports mass immigration
and the cheap labor it provides, while at the same time telling
rank-and-file conservative supporters that the party wants
to get tough on illegal immigration.
On the pro-immigration side of the issue, President Bush is
working with party strategists to create a broad coalition
of CEO's, business groups and immigration advocates to back
the president's guest-worker/amnesty plan for illegal aliens.
But at the same time, the National Republican Congressional
Committee (NRCC) is sending out direct mail packages decrying
illegal immigration with the aim of soliciting donations from
anti-immigration conservative donors.
"It's a new low for political hypocrisy, even by Washington's
already low standards," said Robert Goldsborough, president
of Americans for Immigration Control.
The Los Angeles Times reported last month that President Bush
is creating a coalition to be called Americans for Border
and Economic Security, to be led by former U.S. Reps. Dick
Armey, of Texas and Cal Dooley of California. Armey, a long-time
supporter of big business, once told a meeting sponsored by
the right-wing CATO Institute in Washington, D.C., that America
doesn't have "enough immigrants." Dooley is a pro-immigration
The coalition, reported the Times, "is designed to help
Bush take control of an increasingly contentious debate that
has threatened to split the Republican Party and undermine
its outreach to Latino voters." The purpose of the coalition
is to head off opposition to the president's amnesty plan
from grassroots conservatives.
Republican strategist Terry Holt, Bush's campaign spokesman
in 2004, told the Times that "Immigration needs advocates.
And if those advocate engage, they can have a profound impact
on the issue." Holt told the Times that he and Armey
intend to isolate immigration opponents such as popular Colorado
Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo, head the Congressional Immigration
"To me," said Armey, "the Tancredo wing appeals
to the more prurient character of our nature."
Beneficiaries of immigration will be targeted for membership
in the coalition, the Times said. "Corporations and advocacy
groups with a direct interest in immigration - including those
who need skilled high-tech workers, farm laborers and university
teaching assistants - are being aggressively targeted for
membership." The groups being courted included Microsoft
Corp., Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and groups likely to hire lots
of illegal aliens, such as restaurants, hotels, landscaping
firms, hospitals, etc.
Admission to the coalition requires big money donations, between
$50,000 and $250,000, which will be used to pay for what the
Times called "a political-style campaign" that will
try to influence public opinion with the claim that an amnesty/guest-worker
program will enhance border security and end illegal immigration.
Neoconservative immigration advocate Tamar Jacoby was among
the first to try to sell Bush's amnesty plan as a "get
tough" border policy. Middle American News reported
in April on her bizarre claim that the president's guest-worker/amnesty
plan for illegals is a way to "retake control" of
Under the president's plan, American employers could hire
foreign citizens without limit as long as they claimed no
Americans were available for the jobs at the advertised wage.
Thus, every American worker would be forced into direct wage
competition with workers from every single low-wage nation
on earth. The result would be a dramatic increase in immigration.
Tancredo said the president's new coalition was designed to
guarantee fatter profits for big corporations.
"They're trying to cover what their real motive is, which
is to supply [business] with cheap labor, not to close the
spigot of cheap labor..."
At the same time that the White House is recruiting members
for its amnesty/guest worker coalition, the NRCC - which raises
money for the GOP congressional races - is telling smaller
direct-mail donors that the GOP wants to fight illegal immigration.
In one proposed letter slated for mailing, NRCC Chairman Tom
Reynolds, R-NY, urges donors to fill out an "American
Citizens Survey on Illegal Immigration," and warns readers
that "If we don't take action now, and fail to make the
voices of America's citizens heard on this monumentally vital
issue, immigration could forever change America."
Reynolds tells prospective conservative donors that "Services
for illegal immigrants cost taxpayers billions of dollars
per year. We have millions of illegal immigrants living within
our nation's borders, hiding in the shadows, overwhelming
hospitals, schools, and social services, and hoping to stay
The letter further warns, "And our Homeland Security
is compromised as more and more people from 'countries of
interest' are coming across our borders undetected."
The new appeal to anti-immigration sentiment among the party's
direct mail donors was triggered by a flood of complaints
in recent months. Top GOP fund raisers told Middle American
News that the party has been receiving irate mail from conservative
party donors who object to the president's amnesty plan for
"They're scared of this issue," said one of the
party's fund raising executives, who asked to remain anonymous.
"They used to be afraid to touch immigration [issues]
in the mail because the party leadership and the grassroots
are at opposite ends on this," he said. But now GOP politicians
are worried that anger over amnesty will cause them to lose
support in next year's election. So they've decided to try
to "spin" the illegal immigration issue in their
But one immigration control activist says the Republican strategy
won't fool immigration reform supporters.
"People aren't as naive as some Republicans think they
are," said AIC's Robert Goldsborough. Many of our donors
get Republican mailings. They just send them a note back that
says, 'You won't get a dime from me until you guys stop supporting
mass immigration. No excuses allowed. Period.'"