Over 100 Republican donors, fundraisers and former Party officials wrote Republican members of Congress on Tuesday to urge them to pass an amnesty and overhaul the nation's "broken" immigration system. The letter is one element of a campaign to lobby Republican legislators as they return to their districts for August recess.
The letter was organized by Carlos Gutierrez, President George W. Bush's Secretary of Commerce and co-founder of the Republicans for Immigration Reform PAC. Gutierrez told the New York Times, "What tends to happen during the month of August is that members go home and they go to town hall meetings and they check up on their offices in terms of phone calls and letters, and that's where they get bombarded...So Republicans who are for immigration reform -- and I believe there are many -- we need to make our voice known in August."
The letter called for "legal status" for the 11 million illegal aliens suggested that doing nothing is "de facto amnesty." It said "We need to take control of whom we allow in our country and we need to make sure everybody plays by the same rules. To fix our immigration system we need meaningful reforms that will (1) secure our borders, (2) provide a legal way for U.S.-based companies to hire the workers they need while making it impossible to hire workers here illegally, and (3) take control of our undocumented immigration problem by providing a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants who pay penalties and back taxes, pass criminal background checks, and go to the back of the line."
A number of prominent Republican donors and fund-raisers signed the letter, including William Kunkler, Exec. VP of CC Industries, Tom Stemberg, a founder of Staples; and Frank VanderSloot, the founder of Melaleuca Inc. Several pro-amnesty Bush Administration officials also signed, including Karl Rove, former Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham and former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge. Former Party officials signed as well, including RNC Chairs Ken Mehlman and Jack Oliver and Republican Governors' Chair Fred Malek.
The letter came on the same day that 428 business leaders and related organizations wrote the House leadership asking for passage of "meaningful reform" this year. "We already have been engaged with many members of Congress -- Republicans and Democrats -- on numerous components of a modern immigration system, and we urge that you not let this momentum slip and progress vanish," the letter said.
Updated: Tue, Aug 27th 2013 @ 4:06pm EDT