Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist says there's still time for Congress to pass an immigration-law overhaul this year, but warns that Democrats' "game plan" is to "kill immigration reform."
Norquist told Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview Tuesday that "in point of fact, it's the Democrats who have refused to do immigration reform."
He said President Barack Obama and Democrats controlled Congress throughout 2009 and 2010, yet did not attempt to make adjustments in immigration laws.
Said Norquist: "This is a Reagan Republican reform that is pro-growth, helpful to security, getting us a secure border, making us a richer and stronger and more prosperous and more powerful country. What's not to like about all of those things?"
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On Tuesday, Norquist's and other conservative organizations held a rally and strategy session titled "Americans for Reform: Immigration Reform for our Economy, Faith, and Security."
About 600 conservatives, business people, and faith leaders met at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce offices, then fanned out across Capitol Hill to let members of Congress know they want action on immigration reform. The issue slipped off the national agenda during the bitter fight over spending and Obamacare that led to a government shutdown.
If the GOP doesn't take the initiative in easing the legal burdens of immigrants, Norquist indicated, Democrats will continue to use the issue to bludgeon Republicans politically.
"We need to get that done sooner rather than later," he told Newsmax. "But the Democrats' game plan is to kill immigration reform and use the three networks of the establishment press to blame the Republicans so that the immigrant community – not just Hispanics but Asian-Americans and Indian-Americans and others – [will] blame Republicans for the Democrats' refusal to do immigration reform.
"It's very important to the economy, it's also important not to be jammed politically by the left blaming Republicans and conservatives for their failure to do immigration reform," Norquist said.
The anti-tax activist said a broad coalition of Republicans now recognizes the economic benefits of immigration reform.
"This is a position that Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp and the business community and the . . . police and law enforcement community want to do, and more recently the faith community."
Norquist added that he's not concerned that a pathway to citizenship would mean adding millions of new voters who are more likely, demographically, to vote for Democrats.
"One could have said that about every ethnic group coming into the United States throughout its history, and yet we have 30 Republican governors, 25 states with a Republican governor, Republican House and Republican Senate representing 165 million Americans," Norquist said. "We have most Americans living in Republican-controlled states. This is after 300 years of immigration.
"Evangelical Protestants, the National Baptist Convention, the Jewish community, Roman Catholics, all the major faith communities are in favor of comprehensive reform, as are the free-market economists, the businesses, and the farmers. [It’s] a big, big issue for farmers in rural areas to get the economy moving and moving forward," he said.
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