Telephones at the offices of New Jersey's congressional lawmakers began ringing soon after Senate and White House officials announced a deal on immigration reform. It's been more than a week and the calls haven't stopped. Lawmakers say they've gotten hundreds of calls, mostly from people angry that the Senate proposal would allow an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants to remain in the United States.
(Lawmakers hear get-tough message on immigration By Raju Chebium Gannett News Service May 26 2007)
New Jersey generally has been soft on immigration issues (the Americans for Better Immigration grade for the whole Congressional delegation is a wretched D+) so this is encouraging. And it may be having an effect:
Rep. Rob Andrews, D-Haddon Heights, reiterated Thursday that the legislation would have to be significantly changed before he'd vote for it on the House floor after the Senate approves it — if at all. While it's impractical to deport all illegal immigrants as some critics favor, Andrews said he wants to make sure undocumented workers granted temporary legal status break no other law, work to learn English and pay some back taxes. Constituents are right to be upset that some of their tax dollars go to pay for health care and other benefits for illegal aliens, he said.
Others, more insulated from the electorate, are not listening. While demanding more favors for immigrants, Senator Robert Menendez (Career grade: F) arrogantly proclaimed on the Senate floor this week
we must never subscribe to the policies of fear and division driven by xenophobia, nativism and racism.
New Jersey’s other Senator, Frank Lautenberg, claims to be undecided. Patriots should not hold their breath. Few men have more effectively subordinated the country’s interests to special — and foreign — interests than Frank Lautenberg.