Chamber of Commerce Unleashes Full Force of Its $1 Billion Influence on Immigration Reform

Published on November 20th, 2013

Tom DonohueIn his recent five-minute speech, U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue managed to pack his brief presentation with most of the familiar lies and platitudes about what his organization perceives as the need for immigration reform. As Donohue put it, amnesty would be “good for the country, good for the economy, good for companies and, yes, it’s good for American workers.”

Donohue’s veracity score is a miserable 25 percent. Of the four reasons he offered as why amnesty should pass, he’s correct only when he says that amnesty is good for corporate America. Although Donohue didn’t elaborate, amnesty would create a new underclass of cheap labor that corporations have historically exploited. The rest of Donohue’s blarney goes unexplained, as it always does when advocates make their pleas. How, for example, can adding millions more workers to an economy that has 20 million unemployed be good for American workers?

Reading from a prepared text, Donohue said that “hundreds” of European companies (unnamed) are on the verge of major capital investments in the U.S., but the nation “doesn’t have the workers for many of those jobs.” Other deceptions: Comprehensive immigration reform is “vital,” makes America “exceptional” and is “supported by 71 percent of Americans.”

Because the truth is counterproductive to Donohue's mission, he ignored troublesome facts like the Economic Policy Institute’s recent report which found that in its survey of 17 major job categories, more people were looking for work than were employed, and a Reuters poll that shows most Americans think illegal immigrants should be deported. Equally distracting from Donohue’s amnesty-is-essential thesis would be to state that the U.S. already admits more than 1 million legal immigrants annually, an autopilot federal policy that continues regardless of American unemployment. Watch Donohue’s speech here.

The Chamber is our most imposing, most well-funded foe. According to Open Secrets, since it began operations in 1998, the Chamber has steadily built up its in-house staff to 88 lobbyists and is now also represented by 183 outside individuals from 33 different organizations. In 15 years, it has spent more than $1 billion on lobbying. To help put $1 billion of influence peddling in perspective, for the same period General Electric spent a comparatively paltry $295 million.

Understandably, the Chamber with its millions rarely loses a fight. But for those of us who oppose amnesty for 11 million illegal aliens and the huge increase in non-immigrant work visas – both of which the Chamber endorses – here’s an encouraging note. In the last election cycle, 20 of the 22 candidates it endorsed lost, mainly because they supported issues unpopular with the public, such as the Affordable Care Act.

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