On Tuesday, a group of nearly 100 top Republican donors and Bush administration officials sent a letter to Congress with the aim of convincing lawmakers to pass legislation that would legalize immigrants residing in the U.S. illegally, reports the Washington Times.
Led by former Bush administration Cabinet officials Carlos Gutierrez and Spencer Abraham, the group reasoned that since the current system is already allowing illegal immigrants to stay, it only makes sense to register them and bring them into the system.
They also believe that immigrants will become GOP supporters if the party can be seen as welcoming to immigrants.
“Doing nothing is de facto amnesty. We need to take control of whom we let in our country and we need to make sure everybody plays by the same rules,” the donors said in their letter.
The letter was clearly aimed at House Republicans, who are seemingly trapped between a rock and a hard place on the issue.
On one side, angry rank-and-file voters are adamantly against legalizing illegal immigrants, which they believe amounts to amnesty; on the other side are party bigwigs and donors who claim the GOP will not survive on a nation level if they don’t show support for legalization as part of a strategy to woo Hispanic voters.
Among those signing Tuesday’s donor letter were Bush’s political adviser Karl Rove, as well as a number of ambassadors who served Bush; former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge; former Vice President Dan Quayle; and several former governors.
The letter was one of two Congress received today on immigration reform.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 400 other businesses and umbrella groups sent a letter addressed to House leaders of both parties, urging them to pass some form of legislation, although legalization was not at the forefront of their request.
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