Tags: Ferguson in Crisis | Immigration | NumbersUSA | immigration | illegals | Ferguson

Roy Beck of NumbersUSA: Amnesty Behind 'Hopelessness' in Ferguson

Roy Beck of NumbersUSA: Amnesty Behind 'Hopelessness' in Ferguson
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By    |   Wednesday, 03 December 2014 02:12 PM

When Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson appeared before a congressional panel examining President Barack Obama's temporary amnesty plan, he likely was not thinking about Ferguson, Missouri.

But Roy Beck thinks he should have had Ferguson on his mind.

"For months, we have all been subjected to depressing images and sounds about the economic hopelessness of many in Ferguson. Those images and sounds can be found all across the country.

"It is difficult to imagine much economic hope in those communities without tighter labor markets, the opposite of the president’s desires for millions more immigrant work permits," Beck said in an editorial this week in The Washington Times.

While Beck may not be a household name, as the president of Numbers USA, the nation's largest grassroots anti-immigration advocacy group, the former journalist is well-known on Capitol Hill and to anyone who has read an article on immigration in the last decade.

And he will become very familiar to the new members who will be debating immigration policy when Congress begins anew in January.

“There’s a good chance that we’ll roll back a good share of [the executive action],” said Beck in an interview with The New York Times.

“We did as much as possible to make immigration radioactive in as many places as possible,” Beck said of his organization's efforts to influence the midterm elections.

Founded in 1996, NumbersUSA has grown from a small organization into an influential proponent of immigration limits.

Beck leads a staff of 35 on a shoestring budget that pales in comparison to pro-immigrant groups. According to The New York Times, he has an annual budget of about $10 million, while a coalition of immigrant groups spent $1.5 billion from 2008 to 2012.

But with two million members in every congressional district, NumbersUSA has been able to establish itself as a powerful voice in the ongoing immigration debate.

NumbersUSA has "succeeded in thwarting the passage of comprehensive immigration reform by generating popular anger on the right that overwhelmed mainstream Republicans,” Frank Sharry of the pro-immigration advocacy group America’s Voice told The Times.

When President George W. Bush attempted to implement immigration reform in 2007, Beck and his group bombarded congressional offices with phone calls and faxes that energized conservative opposition to the proposed legislation.

They adopted a similar grassroots effort, including maintaining a presence at town hall meetings, after the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill in June 2013, reports The Los Angeles Times.

They also ran television ads in 18 states leading up to the vote, according to The Sunlight Foundation.

Beck, who voted for Obama in 2008, gained national attention in 1994 with the publication in The Atlantic of "The Ordeal of Immigration in Wausau," an investigative report on the impact of immigration on the Wisconsin town.

"As a newsman, I came to conclude that governmental — or journalistic — work on most issues was laced with futility until the country's immigration policy was brought back under control. I have learned nothing to contradict that conclusion during the succeeding years of research on the effects of immigration numbers," says Beck on his NumbersUSA website profile.

In the end, Beck says the immigration debate is focused on the plight of the immigrants when it should be about the plight of the average American.

“This has nothing to do with the immigrants themselves. But are the people who are here illegally more important than the Americans, the people of this national community, who have absolutely been robbed of their dignity?” Beck asks The Times.

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When Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson argues for liberal immigration policies, he likely isn't thinking about places like Ferguson, Missouri. But he should be, says Roy Beck of NumbersUSA, because there will never be "economic hope in those communities without tighter labor markets."
NumbersUSA, immigration, illegals, Ferguson
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 02:12 PM
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