Ray LaHood: Immigration Reform Critical to GOP Future

Saturday, 29 Jun 2013 06:03 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Outgoing U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said this week that the future of the Republican Party rested with comprehensive immigration reform.

“We will not win another presidential election as Republicans unless we do something to fix the broken immigration system,” LaHood, one of only two Republicans to serve in President Barack Obama’s cabinet, told The Washington Post on Friday.

The day before, the Senate approved an immigration reform measure on a 68-to-32 vote. The approval sent the legislation to an uncertain future in the House of Representatives, where GOP legislators have attacked it as amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants and for lacking strong border-security measures.

LaHood, 67, who will be succeeded by Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx as Transportation Secretary, has served nearly two decades as an elected or appointed official in Washington.

A moderate Republican, LaHood has served as chief of staff to former House GOP Leader Robert Michel of Illinois and then represented the state through seven terms in the House before being named to Obama’s cabinet.

He said House Republicans should take their cues from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a tea party favorite who is among the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators who proposed the immigration measure in April.

“I’m sure he’s taken a lot of heat and grief for this,” LaHood told the Post. “His colleagues in the House should take a page out of his book.”

Otherwise, “this is going to be the death knell for Republicans winning national elections for decades.”


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