Black Activists: Resuscitation of Immigration Reform Legislation Ignores Overwhelming Public Opposition

As senators and the White House try to resurrect the already-failed immigration reform bill, members of the Project 21 black leadership network warn against betraying the public trust.

“If there was ever any doubt about what the elected really think about those who elect them, one need only consider their action on immigration reform,” said Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie.  “Pollster Scott Rasmussen found that 72 percent of the people he polled consider it very important to reduce illegal immigration, yet only 23 percent of the same group support the Senate’s immigration reform bill and only 16 percent think it will work.  These lawmakers seem to have divorced themselves from the reality that we matter, and they seem bereft of guilt for doing it.” 

Immigration reform legislation, which failed to receive enough votes to end debate, was pulled from the floor a week ago.  Late on June 14, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced the bill would return to the floor with a limited number of amendments.  The Bush Administration endorsed a plan to allocate $4.4 billion in funds for immediate border security and workplace enforcement measures that were previously enacted but not funded.

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), a critic of the legislation, told The Washington Post, “I appreciate the effort to fund border security, but there’s simply no reason why we should be forced to tie amnesty to it.”

An analysis of the bill’s initial failure by the Rasmussen Reports polling firm found that the legislation was opposed by “a broad cross-section of the American people” because it made legalizing the estimated 12 million illegal aliens in the United States a higher priority than keeping more from entering.  The analysis noted: “Once the government actually enforces the border, then debate can begin on all other aspects of immigration reform.”

“Lawmakers should know better.  The backlash against this so-called comprehensive immigration reform is obvious,” said Project 21 member Kevin Martin.  “Even with the latest concession from the President, people are still worried about a lack of focus on border security and the overall cost and growth of government services that will come with totally assimilating those already living here illegally.  It’s going to be a repeat of what happened in 1986, and it doesn’t seem that our leaders realize that what didn’t work then won’t work now.”

Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992.  For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s website at

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