By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R) from Alabama took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to denounce the Gang of Eight Comprehensive Immigration reform plan.
Senator Shelby said, “The child of Simpson-Mazzoli will become the mother of all amnesties…Compounding the mistakes made a generation ago will ensure that the problem of illegal immigration revisits generations to come on a much grander scale.”
The last time that Congress passed a mass amnesty for illegal aliens with the promise that the government was going to get tough on illegal immigration was 1986. Senator Shelby was Congressman Shelby back then when illegal alien proponents successfully passed the Simpson-Mazzoli act giving millions of illegal aliens amnesty for their crimes.
Sen. Shelby said, “As a member of the House in 1986 I opposed the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, which granted amnesty to nearly three million illegal immigrants. Supporters of that law promised that it constituted a one-time fix to our nation’s broken immigration system. Instead, the promise itself was broken. At least four times as many illegal immigrants now reside in the U.S. Despite this failure, the Senate is considering legislation 27 years later that repeats the mistakes of Simpson-Mazzoli. The provisions are different, but I believe that the results will be the same. Still, supporters of this legislation promise border security in return for amnesty, just as proponents of Simpson-Mazzoli did.”
Sen. Shelby said that that Sen. Simpson (R) from Wyoming who co-authored the 1986 legislation said that the American people wouldn’t accept a legalization program without border security and tough enforcement of immigration laws. Sen. Shelby said, “Specifically, Simpson-Mazzoli called for 50 percent more border patrol personnel for two years and new penalties for employers who hired illegal immigrants.
Unfortunately, the former proved insufficient and the latter was hollow. But it was too late; nearly three million illegal immigrants had already been granted amnesty by the time most lawmakers figured out that the assurances were a sham. Despite the drastic increase in illegal immigration in the intervening years, supporters of the bill now before the Senate make similar assurances of border security in return for amnesty. They say that there will be a surge in border patrol and a fence along the Southern border. But they claim two main distinctions between their promise and the one we heard in 1986:
“First, they say that this bill does not contain amnesty, but a “tough path to citizenship.” Second, they say that this bill will secure the border before legalization occurs.”
Shelby said, “Neither claim holds water, in my judgment. Under this legislation, once the Secretary of Homeland Security notifies Congress that the department has begun to implement a so-called Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy and a Southern Border Fencing Strategy, she can commence processing applications for registered provisional immigrant status. In addition, the Secretary must begin implementing these plans within 180 days of enactment.”
Sen. Shelby said, “The economic consequences of this massive amnesty will make struggling Americans struggle even harder. By some estimates, this legislation will produce a surge of more than 30 million immigrants in just the first decade after enactment. CBO projects that passing this legislation brings grim news about what this will mean for working Americans as well as those looking for work: The unemployment rate will accelerate over the next six years; average wages for Americans will drop over the next decade; meanwhile, average wages will rise for those granted amnesty. economic output per capita will decrease over the next decade; and the on-budget deficit will increase by more than $14 billion over the next decade. In short, this legislation is projected to increase Americans’ difficulty in finding a job, and then reduce their paycheck when they get one. In my judgment, that’s reason enough to oppose any legislation.”
Sen. Shelby warned that, “This legislation will further strain our over-committed entitlement and welfare programs. Our nation is already $17 trillion in debt. We should be working on a long term plan to put our nation back on sound fiscal footing, not adding to the burden.”
Sen. Shelby said, “By some estimates, China and India together graduate a million engineers each year from their universities. The U.S., by comparison, graduates approximately 120,000 engineers annually. In addition, The Manhattan Institute estimates that 51 percent of engineering Ph.D.’s and 41 percent of physical sciences Ph.D.’s who are foreign-born are forced to leave the United States.” “If we want to continue to lead the world, we must attract and retain the best and brightest minds. Yet this legislation would cause a tectonic population and labor market shift in the opposite direction. Specifically, CBO projects that among the tens of millions of immigrants who will come to America under this legislation, there will be seven low-skilled workers for each high-skilled worker. Seven to one. It’s little wonder, then, that CBO projects that Americans’ wages will fall.”
Sen. Shelby continued, “Two provisions in the legislation will affect this change. First, the current cap on family-based visas will be removed. This will create an unlimited influx of low-skilled workers. Second, the cap on visas for high-skilled workers will be increased, though not nearly enough to meet demand.
Moreover, the legislation will impose onerous new restrictions on employers seeking to hire such workers.”
Sen. Shelby said, “Mark Twain once cleverly observed, “History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” In the context of immigration reform, the promises we hear today sound a lot like those we heard in 1986. But this time, the amnesty will be exponentially bigger.”
Shelby also thanked Senator Sessions for his leadership in opposing the legislation. Sen. Shelby said, “I would like to acknowledge the diligence and leadership of my colleague from Alabama, Senator Sessions, on this issue. I commend his relentless effort to bring to light the many problems and questions surrounding the legislation before us.”
The Senate is expected to easily pass this legislation. As many as fifteen Republican Senators led by Marco Rubio (Florida), John McCain (Arizona), Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), and Jeff Flake (Arizona) have been voting with the Democratic majority in procedural votes. It is likely to pass this legislation on either Thursday or Friday.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) from Ohio has recently said however that the Senate bill will not come up for a vote in the Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives. What a Republican immigration reform bill will look like in the House is likely to be a major issue in coming weeks.
Governor meets with VIP
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey invited a special guest to meet with her in the Governor’s office on Friday.
Fourth grade student Cate McGriff met with Governor Ivey Friday afternoon. The discussion was described as wide-ranging and productive. The governor and McGriff covered everything from school to their love of dogs.
Gov. Ivey asked Miss. McGriff what her favorite subject in school is.
McGriff replied that it was math. She also told the governor that she wanted to attend Auburn University just like Gov. Ivey did.
Ivey asked Cate what she wanted to be when she grows up, after she attends Auburn.
McGriff said that she wanted to be an engineer.
Ivey advised her to keep working hard on her math.
Ivey shared that when she was a young intern for Governor Lurleen Wallace, the only other woman to serve as Governor in Alabama history, she had the opportunity to sit behind the governor’s desk. Ivey then asked Cate if she wanted to sit behind the desk, and they recreated the governor’s own photo behind Governor Wallace’s desk.
Cate and Governor Ivey both were wearing their red power suits and Auburn masks.
McGriff was joined by her parents and two siblings, Claire and Sam.
The McGriff family frequently tune in to the governor’s regular COVID press conferences. Cate also was given the chance to stand behind the lectern in the Old House Chamber.
Governors frequently meet with very important people including: Presidents, CEOs, congressmen, Senators, scientists, University presidents, state legislators, county commissioners, economic developers, and fourth graders.
CDC issues Halloween guidance
Today is Halloween. Many people are celebrating this year’s holiday at home as a nuclear family due to the coronavirus global pandemic. If you are going to still trick or treat this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued guidance on trick or treating.
“Traditional Halloween activities are fun, but some can increase the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 or influenza,” the CDC warned. “Plan alternate ways to participate in Halloween.”
To make trick-or-treating safer: avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters, give out treats outdoors, if possible, set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take, wash your hands before handling treats, wear a mask or cloth face covering.
The CDC has also issued guidance on proper mask wearing. Make your cloth mask part of your costume. A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. Do NOT wear a costume mask over a cloth mask. It can make breathing more difficult. Masks should NOT be worn by children under the age of two or anyone who has trouble breathing.
Remember to always stay at least six feet away from others who do not live with you. Indoors and outdoors, you are more likely to get or spread COVID-19 when you are in close contact with others for a long time.
Don’t let excitement about the holiday distract you from proper COVID-19 procedures. Wash your hands. Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it after touching objects or other people. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Parents should supervise young children using hand sanitizer. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home and before you eat any treats.
Other suggestions for enjoying Halloween activities during the global COVID-19 pandemic include: decorating and carving pumpkins, decorate your home for Halloween, and you can walk from house to house, admiring Halloween decorations at a distance. You could also visit an orchard, forest, or corn maze. You can also go on an outdoor Halloween-themed scavenger hunt. Visit a pumpkin patch or orchard. Whatever you do or wherever you go be sure to remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching frequently touched surfaces, pumpkins, or apples.
The CDC also suggested that you can hide Halloween treats in and around your house and hold a Halloween treat hunt with household members. The CDC suggested that you can hold an outdoor costume parade or contest so everyone can show off their costumes. Another suggestion is that you host an outdoor Halloween movie night with friends or neighbors or an indoor movie night with just your household members.
Etowah County Republicans rally for Trump
The Etowah County Republican Party and the Trump campaign will be holding a Celebrate America rally and prayer meeting on Sunday in anticipation of Tuesday’s general election.
“We the People plan to peacefully assemble at our town square Tomorrow, November 1st at 2:00 PM to rally around President Trump and pray for our nation, our first responders, and for our President,” organizers said.
Remarks will be made by special guest Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville.
Singer songwriters Camille and Haley will perform.
Pastors Mark Gidley, Joey Jones and Bruce Word will be speaking.
“Bring your friends and family as we pray, celebrate and rally for America!” organizers said. “Our outdoor program and rally will be an amazing hour that you will not want to miss! Please mark your calendars and please share.”
Patriotic attire, American flags, and Trump flags are welcome. The event will be in the Rainbow City Town hall parking lot.
Robert Aderholt is in his twelfth term representing Alabama’s Fourth Congressional District. Alabama’s Fourth Congressional District is where Trump had his greatest margin of victory in the entire country in 2016.
President Trump and Congressman Aderholt both face Democratic challengers in Tuesday’s general election.
Jones says Senate race a choice between “substance and leadership, and nothing”
“One of the great disappointments in this campaign is that Alabama is not really getting choices between substance and substance,” Jones said.
Speaking outside the Calhoun County Democratic Party headquarters in Anniston on Friday, Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, told a group of supporters that Alabamians haven’t gotten a look at what his Republican opponent might do if he wins the Nov. 3 election.
“One of the great disappointments in this campaign is that Alabama is not really getting choices between substance and substance,” Jones said. “They’re getting a choice between substance and leadership, and nothing — nothing. We have not heard anything from Tommy Tuberville about what he really wants to do.”
While Jones has held numerous interviews with the media, and regular web briefings over the summer and in recent weeks, Tuberville’s campaign seems to prefer the safety of keeping Tuberville from making possible gaffs or damaging statements in interviews.
Tuberville hasn’t agreed to interviews with traditional media outlets, or to debate Jones, and instead has focused on conservative talk radio spots, speaking to smaller Republican groups and at private parties.
Tuberville’s campaign has ignored or denied our numerous attempts to interview Tuberville, including another request on Friday. He also declined to attend a student forum held at Auburn University on Wednesday, which Jones attended. The forum was sponsored by the Auburn College Republicans and College Democrats.
“If you ever hear something Tommy Tuberville says, it is just simply this: ‘Build a wall. No amnesty. Drain the swamp.’ That ain’t him. That’s Donald Trump,” Jones said. “He cannot think for himself. He doesn’t think for himself.”
Jones spoke of his record of working to help veterans through legislation. And he referred to Tuberville’s nonprofit for veterans and reporting that indicates, through tax records, that less than a third of the money raised for Tuberville’s charity went to help veterans.
“I don’t just create charities and send only pennies on the dollar. I do things for the veterans of this state and this country,” Jones said.
Jones also made a case for Alabamians to remember the contributions past Democrats made in the state. Jones said it was Democratic Sen. John Sparkman who helped build Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal.
“It was a Democrat, Lester Hill, who built the rural hospitals around here that Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell and Tommy Tuberville are trying to destroy,” Jones said. “It was Howell Heflin who built up agriculture in this state. Those are the Democrats. It was Franklin Rosevelt that put electricity in this state. We’re going to do the same thing for broadband. People forget those things. They forget those things because we’ve let other people define us with lies.”
Jones plans to visit Jefferson County on Saturday, then on to the Black Belt and Mobile on Sunday with another stop in Birmingham on Monday afternoon.
“The goal is to get everybody out. That’s the thing if we want to continue to ensure Alabama moves forward — moves forward and not backwards, to continue to have somebody, if I do say so myself, somebody that’s just not going to damn embarrass us,” Jones said.
“We’ve had too much of that in Alabama,” Jones said, “and I bet you it won’t be a year that Tommy Tuberville would be an embarrassment to this state because he doesn’t know the issues. He doesn’t know what to do, and he’s dang sure not going to know what to do when Donald Trump is not president of the United States.”
Jones encouraged supporters to be skeptical of recent polling. One such recent poll, by Auburn University at Montgomery, puts Tuberville ahead of Jones by 12 percentage points, 54 to 42.1. An internal poll by Tuberville’s campaign puts Tuberville ahead by 15 percentage points, while an internal poll from the Jones camp put Jones ahead by one percentage point.
“Don’t listen to these polling folks that come in, and they don’t know Alabama, and they don’t know what they’re doing. We’re tracking this race, and I can tell you, everything has been moving in our direction the last two months,” Jones said.
People standing along roadsides holding his signs and showing support, Jones said, is “the energy we’ve got out there. That’s what you can’t poll.”
Ellen Bass of Anniston, standing outside the Calhoun County Democratic Party headquarters just after Jones spoke, told APR that she has numerous Republican friends who are voting for Jones.
“My hat’s off to them because they’re coming out,” Bass said. “They recognize that he is a better candidate.”
Ciara Smith, 21, newly elected to the Anniston City Council, told APR outside the headquarters building that Jones is the better candidate.
“I think that he’s educated. I think that he speaks with passion and heart,” Smith said. “And he knows what he’s talking about, which is important, and which is more than we can say about the other candidate.”
Speaking to APR after his speech to supporters, Jones said that he feels very good about the state of his campaign.
“Everything we’re seeing is moving in our direction,” Jones said. “And the more he stays hidden, the better it is for us.”