The best way to help NumbersUSA stop amnesty (immigration, House, FAXes)

Back in 2007, members of Numbers USA helped block amnesty by sending a million or so FAXes to Congress.

Unfortunately, times have changed. In 2013, amnesty supporters are stronger than they were in 2007, and amnesty opponents are weaker. Those who might otherwise oppose amnesty are distracted by other, far less important issues and there are other concerns.

If the tactics of NumbersUSA were working, then the Senate wouldn't have passed their amnesty bill and wouldn't have done it by such a wide margin. Instead of adapting to the current situation, it looks like NumbersUSA is doubling-down on those tactics. From [1]:

The day after the Senate passed its immigration overhaul in June, leading opponent Roy H. Beck [head of NumbersUSA] convened his top strategists at a corner table of a pricey restaurant to discuss what went wrong and to plan ways to stop the bill from becoming law.

They brainstormed over rockfish and steak for 2 1/2 hours on how to derail any talk in the House of legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants...

...Beck says the group will mount a full-scale assault on the Republican-led House, where immigration reform is far less popular than in the Senate. The plan is likely to include another fax and phone blitz, and targeted TV ads in some districts encouraging supporters to speak out at town hall meetings, along with other lobbying efforts.

"On a grass-roots level, it is all about trying to hold the Republicans" in line, Beck said.

To be clear, you should join NumbersUSA and send their FAXes. However, as the Senate's actions and the strength of amnesty supporters shows, it's not going to be enough. Numbers has the brawn side of things covered, but in order to succeed their brawn has to be supplemented with a brainier way of doing things.

For a specific example, the last thing we need is more people to stand up and rant at public meetings. As for as I know, that's never worked: I can't recall a case where it's ever caused a politician to modify their immigration stance. Politicians are good with words and many are lawyers; they're able to deflect the rants and run rings around their constituents. Ranting might make answer the emotional issues that some people have, but it doesn't work. See bad questions for dozens of past examples.

I propose a much smarter alternative: finding lawyers or other experienced questioners to ask politicians questions that are designed to be difficult to answer. The concerns of amnesty opponents will still be heard, it will just be done in a much smarter way. See Question Authority for the details, including dozens of tough questions.

If you want to achieve the objective of blocking amnesty, then work to promote the Question Authority plan and work to dissuade non-experienced questioners from asking weak, open-ended questions. And, urge NumbersUSA to promote that plan rather than weak questions or rants.

Another smart supplement to what NumbersUSA does is to try to turn Democrats and liberals against amnesty. There are major reasons why members of those groups who aren't otherwise conflicted should oppose amnesty. Turning a part of their base against them over amnesty would send a very strong message to Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and many other Democratic politicians. That needs to be done in both positive ways and negative ways. For an example of the latter, when a leading liberal supports amnesty on Twitter, I'll work to discredit that liberal by pointing out to those supporters the downsides of amnesty. I'll point out that the US Chamber of Commerce is a strong amnesty supporter and sees it as a way to lower wages. I'll ask why that leading liberal is helping the Chamber lower wages for struggling American workers. I'll point out that the leading liberal is on the same basic side of immigration as the Chamber, the Koch family, Grover Norquist, and others that liberals (and conservatives) should oppose. All we need to do is to "turn" a handful of leading liberals and that might have a snowball effect. That's something NumbersUSA and other leading groups aren't doing, so their actions have to be supplemented with smart tactics such as those.

Yet another smart supplement is to discredit supposed reporters that promote amnesty. An example of that is provided by the very article discussed in this post. In their article, authors Brian Bennett and Joseph Tanfani of the Los Angeles Times work to undercut NumbersUSA, even quoting Frank Sharry and Alfonso Aguilar and playing the "Tanton card". While groups that have received Tanton money have offered defenses against claims similar to those in the current article, such articles keep appearing. And, they keep appearing because supposed reporters know they won't receive much pushback. Those in (or formerly in) the Tanton sphere either can't or won't aggressively work to discredit those who play the "Tanton card". Generally speaking, leading anti-amnesty groups can't or won't offer much pushback against a news media hellbent on promoting amnesty. Discrediting reporters - having an impact on their careers - would be an excellent way to help block amnesty. Even just discrediting a few of them for misleading on immigration would send a message to the others, encouraging them to offer better coverage. Leading mainstream rightwing bloggers - the Breitbart sites, Newsbusters, William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection, and so on are like their leftwing opposite numbers in the sense that all are great at convincing those who are already convinced but rarely have an impact on what those who aren't convinced think. To effectively discredit reporters, assist with my campaigns here and on Twitter.

My goal is to block amnesty and, while NumbersUSA is necessary this time they probably won't be enough. The House approving a modified version of the Senate bill or piecemeal bills would be a major defeat. To prevent that, you have to work smarter, not harder.

To summarize, keep sending out the FAXes. But, in addition, do things that are more effective:

* Organize efforts to have experienced questioners ask politicians tough questions (see Question Authority).

* Work to turn liberals and Democrats against amnesty.

* Help efforts to discredit reporters who mislead about immigration matters.

[1] latimes . com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-immigration-opponents-20130714,0,7164208.story