Coalition of conservatives,
liberals pushes for action
President Obama brought immigration front and center in remarks on Oct. 24.
THE PUSH BY President Obama for comprehensive immigration reform got a boost on Tuesday when a large group descended on the Capitol to lobby Republicans on the issue.
Viewed in tactical terms, this could be seen as a stroke of genius by the president and his Democratic allies.
The GOP is riven with internal divisions on immigration. It’s well documented by the Pew Research Center, and has been widely reported.
Just as it splintered over the government shutdown, the Republican Party could suffer another humiliating defeat as its warring factions do battle on immigration proposals under consideration.
THE ISSUE WAS brought front and center by the president in remarks Oct. 24 in the East Room at The White House.
“This is not just an idea whose time has come; this is an idea whose time has been around for years now,” Obama said. “And this is the moment when we should be able to finally get the job done.
The New York Times online story about the lobbying events on Tuesday. Click image to enlarge.
“[W]e should pass immigration reform. It’s good for our economy. It’s good for our national security. It’s good for our people. And we should do it this year.”
As if they heard his message loud and clear (although the event had probably been planned long ago), on Tuesday a huge group descended on the Capitol to advance the president’s agenda.
We learn the details in The New York Times online story G.O.P. Urged to Act on Immigration by Coalition of Its Allies.
Ashley Parker reports:
“On Tuesday, the group of more than 600 leaders from roughly 40 states descended on the Capitol for meetings with nearly 150 Republican lawmakers.
“They are largely taking aim at House Republicans who they think could support a broad immigration overhaul, including some sort of legal status for the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally. The leaders are urging the lawmakers to take a more proactive role in pushing immigration legislation to a House vote.”
So they are ignoring the hopeless cases who are captive of the Tea Party and focusing on the moderate center, a recipe for more division.
Note the broad coalition represented:
“The event’s sponsors include the Chamber of Commerce; FWD.us, a political action group founded by Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook; the National Immigration Forum; and the Partnership for a New American Economy, which is led by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, Rupert Murdoch and Bill Marriott Jr.,” Parker reported.
Also on Tuesday, the Pew Research Center published a review article Republicans face a divide in their party on immigration highlighting the divisions within the GOP on the issue.
The Pew Research Center story on Tuesday about divisions in the GOP.
“The push to get conservative Republicans on board could reveal some of the same divides that were evident in the party during the just-ended fiscal standoff,” Pew reports.
“For instance, Republicans who agree with the Tea Party overwhelmingly say that granting undocumented immigrants legal status rewards illegal behavior (82 percent agree, 16 percent disagree), according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted in June.
That compares with a narrower majority of Republicans who do not agree with the Tea Party (60 percent agree, 37 percent disagree).
The survey also found that a smaller majority of Tea Party Republicans (57 percent) than non-Tea Party Republicans (77 percent) say that most undocumented immigrants are hard workers who should have the opportunity to stay in this country and improve their lives.”
THIS WAS NOT the first time the possibility of a split in the GOP over immigration was raised.
The headine in The New York Times on Oct. 25 focused on the issue: Immigration Poses Threat of Another Republican Rift
Another split in the GOP is suggested in The New York Times story of Oct. 25.
“A push to bring immigration legislation to the House floor, led by an unusual coalition of business executives, prominent conservatives and evangelical leaders, threatens to create another schism in the Republican Party and could have a noticeable effect on campaign contributions before the midterm elections,” reported Eric Lipton and Ashley Parker.
“Several Republican executives and donors who are part of a lobbying blitz coming to Capitol Hill next week said they were considering withholding, or had already decided to withhold, future financial support to Republican lawmakers they believe are obstructing progress on immigration.”
To drive the point home, the president said last week that “Everybody knows that our current immigration system is broken. Across the political spectrum, people understand that. We’ve known it for years.”
Indeed the system is broken. But a political solution is nowhere near certain.
It seems that only a cross-party coalition of almost all the Democrats and a few Republicans in the House of Representatives has any hope of accomplishing even modest reforms this year.
But in the process of moving forward, there is likely to be serious strain within the GOP. It could quite easily be a re-run of the acrimonious internecine warfare that erupted in the aftermath of the government shutdown.
Congratulations to the Obama administration for pushing again on an issue that is certain to play out in the 2014 mid-term congressional elections.
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