Last-Ditch Effort To Ram Amnesty Through Lame Duck Congress

There is major funding behind a last-ditch effort to push Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Kyrsten Sinema’s (I-AZ) amnesty legislation through the lame-duck session of Congress, with most of the money coming from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and corporate donors.

The Chamber of Commerce and other donors have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in an effort to ram through amnesty for illegal aliens before Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives in January.

The legislation, which was proposed by Tillis and Sinema, would provide amnesty to at least two million illegal aliens who are enrolled and eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — and would also bring hundreds of thousands more foreign workers into the U.S. labor market.

Speaking with NBC News, Tillis admitted that the only way to pass this legislation is to get it done during the lame-duck session with Democrats still in control of both chambers of Congress, as it will be too difficult when Republicans take control of the House in January.

The donor class has also jumped in to help with the push for amnesty.

The Chamber of Commerce, which has begun lobbying lawmakers to back the Tillis-Sinema legislation, gave Tillis $7,500 in his 2020 reelection bid through their political action committee (PAC). The PAC has also donated $3,500 to Sinema since 2018.

“We look forward to working with [Sens. Tillis and Sinema] over the next few weeks to move legislation forward that provides critical resources to properly secure our border, enacts much-needed reforms to our asylum laws, improves the operation of our legal immigration system, and brings real, lasting relief to Dreamers across the country,” Jon Baselice with the Chamber told NBC News.

Another major donor was the American Hotel and Lodging Association, which dropped a six-figure ad campaign in Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia to promote amnesty. The association’s PAC also donated $10,000 to Tillis in 2020 and has donated $7,500 to Sinema since 2018.

Other major donations came through the Koch network, which has been encouraging lawmakers to back the amnesty legislation. Americans for Prosperity Action PAC, a Koch-funded group, spent almost $2.5 million against Tillis’ Democrat opponent in 2020.

The National Restaurant Association also plans to launch a major advertising campaign to promote amnesty. The association’s PAC donated $5,000 to Tillis in 2020 and has donated over $17,500 to Sinema since 2018.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who has long supported amnesty despite his voter base’s strong opposition to the issue, has acknowledged that there is no chance that the Tillis-Sinema legislation passes the Senate during the lame-duck session.

“That’s not going anywhere; that’s a pipe dream,” he told NBC News. “You’ve got to do something with the border, you can’t just start legalizing people. I appreciate them working on it — there’s a deal to be done down the road — but it’s not money, it’s policy.”

Independent analysis has indicated that amnesty — as well as more legal immigration — would have a negative effect on the lives of many Americans, causing a net loss for Americans’ job security and wages.

According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis from 2013, the “Gang of Eight” amnesty plan would “slightly” decrease wages for American workers.

A 2020 CBO analysis asserted that “immigration has exerted downward pressure on the wages of relatively low-skilled workers who are already in the country, regardless of their birthplace.”

Additional research indicates that the current amount of legal immigration into the U.S. leads to more than $530 billion worth of lost wages for Americans.

According to recent peer-reviewed research from economist Christoph Albert, “as immigrants accept lower wages, they are preferably chosen by firms and therefore have higher job finding rates than natives, consistent with evidence found in US data.”