Chamber Chief Warns GOP: Pass Immigration or Lose in 2016

Image: Chamber Chief Warns GOP: Pass Immigration or Lose in 2016

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 12:13 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue warned Monday that Republicans will lose the 2016 presidential election if they don’t pass an immigration reform bill this year.

"If the Republicans don’t do it, they shouldn’t bother to run a candidate in 2016," Donohue said at an event Monday on infrastructure issues, The Wall Street Journal reported. "Think about that. Think about who the voters are. I just did that to get everybody’s attention."

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

The Senate passed a bipartisan bill last year but the Republican-controlled House has held up a reform package due to concerns that it will be a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.

"We’re absolutely crazy if we don’t take advantage of having passed an immigration bill out of the Senate because going back and doing it again might be harder," Donohue said.

His comments echoed the views of several leading Republicans following the overwhelming support that President Barack Obama received from Latino voters during the 2012 election.

Politico said that the ever-expanding Hispanic populations in Nevada and Texas, and other states, could mean that they are vulnerable to a Democratic takeover in the future.

Conservative Fox News talk show host Bill O'Reilly has urged Republicans to come up with some "smart solutions" to the nation's immigration problems or risk dealing with Democrat Hillary Clinton as president in 2016.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been pushing House Republicans for months to vote on immigration legislation this year.

According to Politico, Donohue was asked by moderator Eamon Javers whether it was possible that such a bill could be approved by Congress in 2014, and he replied, "Yes, yes."

He was supported by National Association of Manufacturers President Jay Timmons, who also said he believed that immigration reform could pass this year, possibly in a lame-duck session. "This is a unified position of the business community," Timmons said.

An immigration bill has been opposed by GOP conservatives who claim it would hurt employment for American citizens.

"The immigration bill in question would double the annual number of guest worker admissions – from roughly 600,000 a year under current law to 1.2 million a year if passed," said Stephen Miller, spokesman for Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions, according to Politico.

"It would also triple the admission of largely lower-skilled permanent immigrants over the next decade – from 10 million to 30 million. Immigration reform should mean putting unemployed Americans back to work, not replacing them at a lower cost."

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

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