Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, discussed immigration during an interview Wednesday on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with co-hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak and described a 1,500-person caravan from Central America seeking entry to the U.S. as composed of “economic migrants.” He rejected characterizations of the caravaneers as refugees.
Rather than refugees, Beck said that “these people are … economic migrants.” He added, “They’re marching and chanting slogans about them being international workers who have a right to go wherever they work; borders should not be able to stop international workers from getting a job. Their rhetoric is not asylum rhetoric. Their rhetoric is economic migrant rhetoric.”
Beck stated that foreigners are exploiting U.S. federal law to enter the homeland with the assistance of certain American lawyers. “They all know, just go to the port of entry, and say some magic words. We’ve heard some reports that these groups are being advised by American lawyers down in Mexico. They’re having seminars, telling them what to say when they get in, in order to game the system.”
Beck noted Congress’s unwillingness to pass legislation supporting Trump’s agenda on immigration and border security. He said, “Lots of talk and no action. There’s not been enough action to back up the president’s promises. This is basically not his fault. It’s Congress [which] has not acted to show the world that we actually mean to enforce our laws and protect our borders.”
Beck described popular political discourse hyping amnesty as a magnet for foreigners aspiring to illegally emigrate to America, saying, “So you can just imagine that before the election, we had a year or two with this build-up, that this DACA amnesty was inevitable. You’ve had most of the Republican voices pretty much saying the same things, and the Democrats have made it their top issue for so long. So this word goes out, and they’re going, ‘Man, there’s a welcome mat here.’”
Widespread support on Capitol Hill for amnesty sends a “signal” to foreigners that illegal immigration will be accepted, remarked Beck.
Beck warned that political rhetoric is an insufficient deterrent to illegal immigration over time. He reflected, “When the 1986 amnesty was passed, there was a big compromise. The deal was that this would be the last amnesty because they were going to make it illegal for companies to hire illegal workers. They thought it would take away the magnet, and illegal immigration stopped. That word went out, and then for a couple of years, illegal immigration really plummeted, but then after a couple of years, the word got out, ‘Hey, they’re still hiring. There’s no teeth in this.’ Chuck Schumer made sure he wrote the law so it wouldn’t have teeth.”
“The same thing happened here,” Beck continued. “We saw a real drop in illegal immigration last year because people heard this rhetoric from President Trump … but then they see all this talk about amnesties They also see that every effort to change some laws to increase enforcement, the Democrats have blocked, and some Republicans have worked along with it. Just think what that says to people. It says, ‘Listen, America’s still open for business for illegal immigrants.'”
Beck pointed to a legal “loophole” within federal immigration.
Beck said Democrats are “absolutely opposed to closing that loophole.”
Beck highlighted economic damage wrought by illegal immigration, saying, “Illegal immigration balloons the labor-force size, and the laws of supply and demand cannot be repealed by Congress. … If you have an excess workforce, then the price of labor goes down. All the studies, even the studies by very pro-immigration expansion think tanks will acknowledge that immigration — both legal and illegal — will hurt people at the bottom of the ladder.”
Beck added that illegal immigration increases unemployment among American citizens. He explained, “There are 50 million working-age Americans who do not have a job. Most of them are not in the workforce at all; hence, they’re not counted in the unemployment rates. We have just a huge number of Americans, and it’s particularly troubling in terms of the millennials, who are basically being buried into lives of dependency, on government, charity, and family, rather than the dignity of work and taking care of yourself. … For every hundred of these caravan people that come in and take a job, there’s going to be something approaching a hundred Americans who are going to stay out of the workforce and being dependent.”
Illegal immigration, Beck continued, lowers wages for many laborious lines of work. “It also continues to collapse occupations,” he explained. “Whole occupations have collapsed, a lot of it because of illegal immigration — for instance, roofing, meatpacking, drywalling. There are just so many of these occupations that used to pay middle class wages. They no longer do because of the availability of this illegal foreign labor.”
Beck called on House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to pass legislation to close a “loophole” restricting the federal government’s ability to easily repatriate foreigners from states other than Canada or Mexico. He said, “Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell, I believe, should just bring a simple bill that closes that loophole. That’s the only thing it does — just that one bill to close the loophole. Force everybody to vote, and have people up or down on whether they want to encourage these caravans and these surges. I think that’s what they ought to do on one thing after another. There’s an election coming up, and people can decide whether they want to vote for the candidates … who want to keep the border open, or are they going to back law and order? I think Congress has been way too timid. The Republican leaders there seem scared to death to ever bring a vote on something that will fail.”
Beck advised Trump and the administration to push for mandatory E-Verify use by employers, saying, “I have to blame the president and the Trump administration for one big gap in what they’ve done, and that is there’s been almost nothing said about mandatory E-Verify from this administration. I’m so appreciative of this administration having the four pillars that include ending chain migration and the visa lottery. There’s really never been any pushing on cutting off the jobs magnet.” He praised the Securing America’s Future (SAF) Act, a proposed bill including a national mandate for E-Verify use by employers.
Beck said halting illegal immigration cannot be done without an E-Verify mandate. “You can put the national guard on the border, you can do all kinds of things, you can have a fantastic wall or fence, but until you cut off the jobs magnet — and I think mandatory E-Verify is the primary way to do it. I think it’ll do most of the work. You’re going to have an amount of illegal immigration,” he said. “The word has gone out to Central America and countries all over the world that if you can get through Mexico and get across that border, you will get a job because the employers are hiring, and there’s very little being done to stop those employers.”
Beck proposed using military resources to assist in the construction of fencing and walls along the southern border. He said, “All these engineering units in order to train — they need to build things. So instead of building things on military bases that they then tear down after they’ve built them, for the experience, they might as well be building this multi-layer fencing or wall or whatever is the right thing to build at any point. Those exercises [and] materials are already being paid for. So there does seem to be some real room. … There’s money in the system and training in the system, it seems to me, that we could put our military to work.”
Beck framed Republicans political fortunes as being tied to their action — or inaction — on combating illegal immigration and securing the U.S.-Mexico border. He remarked, “For Republicans who have been on the pro-enforcement side, they have control of the Senate largely because of running on this very issue about protecting the borders back in 2014 — and they have not shown much initiative, at all. They constantly hide behind, ‘Well, the Democrats stop us.’ … If Republicans do nothing on immigration, I think that they’re guaranteeing that they’re going to lose control. What they need to do if they want to keep control is show to the people that put them in office that they’ll do all they can, and I don’t think they’re showing that.”
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