Just two days after President Bush slammed critics of his immigration policy, the Republican National Committee has reportedly fired all 65 of its telephone solicitors, as donors are said to be furious over the president’s stance to give legal status to millions of illegal aliens.
“Every donor in 50 states we reached has been angry, especially in the last month and a half, and for 99 percent of them immigration is the No. 1 issue,” a fired phone-bank employee told the Washington Times.
Republican outrage over President Bush’s immigration policy has led to some to create satirical currency such as this
Ousted staff members told the paper Anne Hathaway, the committee’s chief of staff, summoned the solicitors and told them they were out of work, effective immediately.
They claim the reasons they were given were an estimated 40 percent plunge in small-donor contributions, as well as aging phone-bank equipment the RNC said would cost too much to modernize.
The committee, however, is denying any drop-off in the influx of cash.
“Any assertion that overall donations have gone down is patently false,” RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt told the Times via e-mail. “We continue to out-raise our Democrat counterpart by a substantive amount (nearly double).”
Schmitt said terminating the phone solicitation staff “was not an easy decision. The first and primary motivating factor was the state of the phone-bank technology, which was outdated and difficult to maintain. The RNC was advised that we would soon need an entire new system to remain viable.”
She also indicated “the changing ways in which people choose to contribute” meant the RNC’s in-house phone bank “was simply no longer cost effective, although unfortunate.”
While the ex-employees acknowledged their equipment was aging, they also said the steep drop in donations “probably” hastened the end of the in-house operation.
“Last year, my solicitations totaled $164,000, and this year the way they were running for the first four months, they would total $100,000 by the end of 2007,” another fired phone-bank employee who asked not to be identified told the paper.
Previous GOP donors have given RNC solicitors a lashing about the president’s proposed immigration measure.
“We have not heard anyone in our donor calls who supported the president on immigration,” said a fired phone solicitor, who described himself as a Republican activist.
“We write these comments up from each call, and give them to a supervisor who passes them on to the finance director or the national chairman,” he said. “But when I talked with the White House, the people there told me they got nothing but positive comments on the president’s immigration stand.”
As WND reported, opponents of the controversial immigration deal forged by the White House and a bipartisan group of senators in private meetings “don’t want to do what’s right for America,” according to President Bush in a speech Tuesday.
“The fundamental question is, will elected officials have the courage necessary to put a comprehensive immigration plan in place,” Bush told students and instructors at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Ga.
The president argued the proposal, which offers a path to citizenship for the more than 12 million illegal immigrants, will make “it more likely we can enforce our border – and at the same time uphold the great immigrant tradition of the United States of America.”
The plan, which was quickly sent to the Senate floor without public hearings, has been dismissed as “amnesty” by opponents. But Bush emphasized the bill requires a number of security and enforcement measures be carried out before those features can be implemented.
They include barriers on the Mexican border, hiring more Border Patrol agents and an identification system for employees.
The bill would allow illegal immigrants to come forward and obtain a “Z visa” that puts them on a track for permanent residency within eight to 13 years. Fees and a fine of $5,000 are required and heads of household first must return to their home countries.
The illegals, however, would be able to obtain a probationary card right away to live and work in the U.S.
The plan also would create a guest worker program, allowing foreigners to come to the U.S. on a temporary basis with no guarantee of eventually gaining citizenship.
Bush acknowledged many Americans “are skeptical about immigration reform, primarily because they don’t think the government can fix the problems.”
“And my answer to the skeptics is: Give us a chance to fix the problems in a comprehensive way that enforces our border and treats people with decency and respect,” the president said. “Give us a chance to fix this problem. Don’t try to kill this bill before it gets moving.”
Bush said opponents “determined to find fault with this bill” will always be able to pick out something in it they don’t like.
“If you want to kill the bill, if you don’t want to do what’s right for America, you can pick one little aspect out of it,” he said.
“You can use it to frighten people, or you can show leadership and solve this problem once and for all.”
The Senate, now in recess, will continue debate on the bill next week.
The public is most passionate about enforcement, the survey indicated. About 72 percent of voters said it’s “very important” for “the government to improve its enforcement of the borders and reduce illegal immigration.”
The figure jumped to 89 percent among Republicans, while 65 percent of Democrats and 63 percent of unaffiliated voters believed enforcement is “very important.”
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