What has changed since Reid introduced the bill? In 1994, there were approximately 3 million illegal aliens living in the United States. Today there are 11 million. In 1994, we accepted 800,000 legal immigrants each year. Today, we accept 1.1 million. In 1994, unemployment was at 6.6%. Today it is officially at 9.5%, and these numbers do not include the temporary census workers who will soon be out of a job. The Census Bureau reports that one out of every six workers in America is foreign born, with eight million illegal immigrants in the workforce.
Things are even worse in Nevada. In addition to having the highest number of illegal aliens in the workforce, it also has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 14%.
One thing that has certainly changed since 1994 is Harry Reid. As Senate Democratic Leader, he now sees illegal aliens and foreign workers as future Democratic voters and believes that pandering to Hispanics will help him win votes. The Arizona Republic recently ran a piece entitled “Harry Reid’s dislike of Arizona law may aid re-election.”
Fortunately for Nevadans and Americans, Reid’s repositioning on immigration will most likely backfire. Hispanics only make up 12% of the electorate, and many are patriotic citizens who support Arizona’s law. As a whole, 57% of Nevada voters support Arizona’s law and 63% oppose the Obama administration’s lawsuit to prevent it.
While illegal immigration has become a hot button political issue, no politician of either party has introduced legislation for across the board cuts on legal immigration since I introduced the Mass Immigration Reduction Act of 2004.
The fact that this is not getting any attention is outrageous. Despite skyrocketing unemployment, we actually increased the number of foreign workers we accepted into the country in 2009, with over 1.1 million permanent green cards issued, in addition to over 880,000 visas to temporary foreign workers.
With our immigration and economic problems out of control and politicians refusal to fully address the issue, we need the Harry Reid of 1993 and 1994 more than ever.
Former Congressman Tom Tancredo served Colorado’s 6th Congressional District from 1999 through 2009 where he founded and chaired the bipartisan, 100+ member Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus. He currently serves as Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Foundation and Team America PAC.
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