Chamber of Commerce: We've 'Never' Supported Amnesty

On Wednesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce claimed that it has never supported amnesty, despite vowing to spend at least $50 million to ram through amnesty legislation and oppose anti-amnesty and Tea Party candidates.  

"The U.S. Chamber does not support amnesty and never has," Sean Hackbarth wrote on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

The Chamber of Commerce took issue with Rush Limbaugh's statement that the Chamber would not finance candidates in 2016 who do not support comprehensive amnesty legislation because Limbaugh, though capturing the gist of the Chamber's stated intentions, did not accurately quote Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue. 

Limbaugh recently said on his program that Donohue essentially said, "If you don't do amnesty, you may as well not even nominate a candidate in 2016 'cause none of us are gonna give any Republican any money if they don't do this." Donohue had half-joked earlier this year at the event Limbaugh referenced that the GOP would not win the White House if it did not pass amnesty legislation, and he said he hoped it would be passed in the lame-duck session.  

“If the Republicans don’t do it [pass immigration reform], they shouldn’t bother to run a candidate in 2016,” Donohue said. “Think about that. Think about who the voters are. I just did that to get everybody’s attention.” But as Limbaugh noted, the Chamber of Commerce is unlikely to enthusiastically back a candidate who is against amnesty legislation. 

After House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told President Barack Obama that Congress would not vote on amnesty legislation this year, the Chamber of Commerce said it would "not let up" on pushing for a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

In 2013, Donohue expressed his support for a pathway to citizenship for the country's illegal immigrants.

“We must move forward and resolve other critical components. As the Chamber has said before, reforms must include increased border security, improvements for the high-skilled visa category, some type of pathway to legalization and eventual citizenship under tight criteria, and a balanced and workable employment verification system," Donohue said in April of 2013. “We will continue to work with members of both parties to enact comprehensive reform that meets the needs of our economy and our society. It's time to put politics and narrow agendas aside and do what's right for the country.”

In January, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) circulated a "Myth vs. Fact" document and argued that "any plan that provides such special privileges to those who are in the country illegally today, but does not extend the same privileges to those who enter the country illegally tomorrow, is amnesty.”

Donohue and the Chamber of Commerce have repeatedly pushed legislation that would do exactly that and provide special privileges to today's illegal immigrants that will not be afforded to future illegal immigrants.


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