Leading Republican Voices Agree: Congress Must Act on Immigration

Assistant Director of Communications

November 21, 2013

Boehner, Christie, Haley Speak Out; Former Commerce Secretary Gutierrez Pens Op-Ed

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today at the Republican Governors Association annual conference, Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Nikki Haley of South Carolina stressed that Congress needs to address immigration reform.

And as GOP governors convene in Scottsdale, Ariz., attendees picked up this morning’s USA Today to find a full-page ad featuring Republican governors calling for commonsense immigration reform. And as they arrived yesterday, the Arizona Republic published an op-ed by Republicans for Immigration Reform Chairman Carlos Gutierrez.

Republican members of the House of Representatives should take encouragement from Gov. Christie’s win and from recent polling that shows broad support among their supportive voters. Immigration reform is a winning issue,” Gutierrez writes.

“Republican governors feel the effects of our broken immigration system directly,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “Like Bibles, Badges and Business leaders in their states and around the country, they are calling for federal solutions. As Secretary Gutierrez implores, House leaders must find a way to move reform forward.”

Meanwhile, back in D.C., House Speaker John Boehner said immigration reform is alive in Congress. “I was encouraged that the president said that he wouldn’t stand in the way of a step-by-step immigration reform,” Boehner said. “ … I’m hopeful we can make progress on this very important issue.”

Noorani concluded: “At the state and federal level, Republican leadership is ready for reform. The time for votes is upon us.”

Full text of Secretary Gutierrez’s op-ed follows.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC (Gutierrez Op-Ed): Immigration reform can be a winning issue for Republicans

Former Commerce secretary: Governors are leading – why can’t Congress

By Carlos Gutierrez

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013

As the Republican Governors Association meets in Scottsdale this week, state GOP leaders should celebrate and reaffirm their call for broad immigration reform that will help all Americans.

Doing so would be no departure for many Republican governors, who see both the effects of our broken immigration system and a need for Congress to create a better process.

The lesson of recent elections is that immigration reform and honoring our tradition as a nation of immigrants is not just good policy but good politics. Look no further than Gov. Chris Christie’s landslide 60-38 win in November — including majority support among Hispanic voters.

“What Congress needs to do is get to work, working with each other and the president, to fix a broken system that is not serving our economy well, that is not serving our country well,” Christie said this month.

Republican members of the House of Representatives should take encouragement from Gov. Christie’s win and from recent polling that shows broad support among their supportive voters. Immigration reform is a winning issue.

You can also ask the man for whom I served, President George W. Bush. His recognition that we are a nation of immigrants and his support for immigration reform contributed strongly to his election and re-election. 

Members of Congress have made encouraging statements recently about the need for reform. But celebrating and unlocking American possibility requires more than promising words. House Republican leaders need to find a way to move immigration reform forward and create a process that provides broad certainty for our nation’s businesses and communities.

GOP governors are just the headwaters of a broad river of support for federal solutions on immigration. Business and other conservative leaders across the country are pushing for reform that will grow the economy and encourage new Americans to pursue and defend the freedom and opportunity that make our nation great.

Quite simply, reform will help us compete globally. Immigrants are innovators and investors — and job creators. I saw it as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and as the United States Secretary of Commerce.

We need to keep our talented workers in this country. Those who have come here for an American education will be a step ahead — whether they’re creating jobs here in America or heading elsewhere to compete with us.

In addition, a streamlined legal immigration process will help businesses ensure a legal workforce. That will level the playing field for all American workers, and it will emphasize accountability.

“For too long, America has focused on differences and disagreements on immigration,” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said earlier this year.

“I am confident that Congress can work together to achieve immigration reform that is good for both parties and good for America,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said in June.

These governors’ leadership is inspiring, and voters’ support is clear. Our leaders in Congress need to come together, set aside political gamesmanship and create a new immigration process.

We can ensure that this process respects the rule of law, protects our borders and honors our neighbors who aspire to fully embrace and contribute to the American dream. And Republicans in the 113th Congress can and must provide the conservative vision to lead our country forward.

Carlos Gutierrez serves as national chairman of Republicans for Immigration Reform and vice chairman of the Albright Stonebridge Group. He served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President George W. Bush.