(CNSNews.com) - Despite a Senate vote to revive debate on a controversial immigration reform bill, opponents of the measure said Wednesday they remain determined to defeat the legislation, which one group called "a sham" and another described as "blatantly ignoring the will of the American people."
"In the past 24 hours alone, we have seen more than 125,000 citizen contacts in the form of petitions, phone calls and faxes to the Senate opposing the bill," said Steve Elliott, president of the conservative group Grassfire.org, in a news release.
"I don't see discouragement; I see determination," he added. "Our online community site immediately spiked with traffic, and now, citizens are re-engaging this debate with a new flood of faxes and phone calls."
In response to the Senate's 64-to-35 vote to invoke cloture - a move that reopened debate on the bill's amendments and virtually ensures that it will see a vote within days - Elliott said his organization remains "undeterred" and has updated its campaign.
"We're encouraging citizens to fax a giant letter 'A' to senators," he stated. "Of course, the 'A' stands for amnesty, and the fax is to remind these senators that they will forever be known as 'Amnesty Senators' if they vote 'yes' on the next cloture motion."
Elliott said that within 30 minutes of the Senate vote, Grassfire was identifying to activists a list of senators who had either switched their vote to support the bill or had indicated uncertainty.
As Cybercast News Service previously reported, Grassfire's "Where's the Fence?" television ads have reached more than 25 million people.
Richard Viguerie, author of the book "Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause," released a pointed statement to GOP senators who are running for the White House in next year's election.
"Any Republican senator who voted for cloture can retire their presidential ambitions," he said. "This means John McCain [of Arizona] and Sam Brownback [of Kansas]," because "the Republican Party is simply not going to nominate anyone who supports Bush's amnesty-for-illegal-aliens scheme."
However, on his campaign website, Brownback's staff posted a statement indicating the senator "voted to bring the bill back to the floor for debate and for amendments to be offered. This does not mean that Sen. Brownback supports the immigration bill itself - he feels the bill needs to be improved.
"The bill changes significantly every day, and for this reason, Sen. Brownback is waiting to see what the bill looks like when it comes time for final passage before reaching a conclusion on how he will vote," the message adds.
Sen. Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican who also voted to invoke cloture, stated in a news release on his website that although the immigration bill is far from perfect, "it is the first strong, bipartisan consensus for enforcing our laws and securing the border.
"I am well aware of the opposition to the bill (from both the left and the right)," he added.
Kyl listed several arguments in favor of passing the legislation. Existing laws cannot be properly enforced; the new bill is tougher and more enforceable than past laws; and without bipartisan cooperation, the existing law cannot be changed, he said.
"From my perspective, given the good things in the bill and the deteriorating status quo, passing this bill is better than doing nothing," Kyl concluded.
But Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), strongly disagreed, telling Cybercast News Service on Wednesday: "This bill is a sham."
"This proposal - if enacted - will totally and utterly destroy the integrity of U.S. immigration system for a generation," he stated. "It will alter irrevocably what it means for our children and grandchildren to live in America.
"Amidst the mad flurry of jockeying by special interests dominating the current Senate immigration debate, one thing is clear: The Senate has no interest in assessing the true significance of mass immigration on American communities," Stein asserted.
"No effort is being made to explore how adding tens of millions of people will affect every aspect of American society, such as traffic congestion, schools, education and the environment," he said.
"I have never seen such disconnect between the people and their elected officials," Jessica Echard, executive director of the pro-family Eagle Forum, said in a news release. "Senators are blatantly ignoring the will of the American people."
"We are determined to stop this bill in the House, if not the Senate," Echard added. "We are confident that House members will be more inclined to uphold the Constitution and listen to the American people."
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