Anti-Amnesty Groups Face Mounting Odds in Immigration Fight

Anti-amnesty groups are launching ads and mobilizing support, but tough fight looms.

Anti-amnesty groups are working diligently to build grass-roots support in order to stop the bill backed by the "gang of eight" in its tracks.

Anti-amnesty groups are working diligently to build grass-roots support in order to stop the bill backed by the "gang of eight" in its tracks.

By + More

The race is on to secure at least 60 votes in the Senate to prove that the "gang of eight's" comprehensive immigration overhaul is overwhelmingly bipartisan, but in local communities from Arizona to Florida, anti-amnesty groups are working diligently to build grass-roots support in order to stop the bill in its tracks.

The gang of eight's bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week with both sides of the aisle vowing to get the bill to the floor in June, but anti-immigration groups have a plan to derail the delicately constructed bill by mobilizing public opposition.

[READ: Why Health Care and Immigration Is a Dangerous Combination]

Numbers USA, one of the country's largest anti-amnesty groups, released a series of television and radio ads across 18 states Tuesday, targeting lawmakers who support the gang of eight's bill.

"The gang of eight bill abandons the 20 million of our fellow Americans who need a job and it does so for the purpose of rewarding the wealthy special interests who wrote the bill and who will reap the profits of further glutting the labor market and driving down the wages of American workers," said Roy Beck, the group's president.

The group also is encouraging supporters to sign a petition and fax it to their respective lawmakers like they did in 2007.

Beck argues that legalizing the 11 million immigrants who entered the country illegally undermines the economic progress of the country's next generation, one that is struggling to find jobs and weighing on unemployment numbers.

[READ: Immigration Reform Proponents Optimistic About Passage]

But recent polls show that Americans may not buy the group's argument.

A Fox News poll released last week revealed that 50 percent of Americans believe that giving citizenship chances to immigrants who came to the country illegally will strengthen the economy.

One of the central arguments anti-amnesty groups are using is that immigration reform will cost a massive amount of money. The groups regularly cite the Heritage Foundation's controversial study, which found the cost of granting amnesty to 11 million immigrants who entered the country illegally would be $6.3 trillion over 50 years.

"Legalizing people with low levels of education in a modern welfare state is going to cost money and that is not going away," says Mark Krikorian, the executive director for the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that wants fewer immigrants to be allowed to enter the country. "There is a very high cost to cheap labor and it cannot be whist away by fancy footwork."

But GOP consultants and leaders predict that the anti-amnesty movement is more talk than action and will not succeed.

Anti-tax leader Grover Norquist says that immigration reform has developed too broad of a coalition to fail, even with anti-amnesty groups vehemently opposing it.

[READ: Schumer, Reid Make Vines to Help Pass Immigration Reform Bill]

Support from the Chamber of Commerce, the religious right, the Catholic Church and high-tech groups has dramatically cut the number of voters who are anti-immigrant.

"Where is the power of the anti-amnesty groups? It is not in the pews, not in the churches, not in the business community. Every free market group in this town is against them except for Heritage," Norquist says.

He adds that every frontrunner mulling a 2016 presidential bid has come out in support of comprehensive immigration reform, giving even more political credibility to GOP efforts to overhaul the current system.

"The insurgent conservative wing of the party thinks this is important," Norquist says. "The future of the Republican Party is all here."

John Feehery, another GOP consultant, agrees the momentum for reform may be too great.

"There might be a lot of House Republicans who are very conflicted about voting for this, but there is a better shot now then there ever was," Feehery says.

More News:

  • Major ICE Union Against Immigration Bill, but Senate Bill Barrels Forward
  • Opinion: Congress Should Remember the American Dream