Karl Rove and more than one hundred Republican donors sent a letter to Republican members of Congress on Tuesday, urging them to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would include, among other provisions, granting “legal status” to illegal aliens who meet certain criteria.
Anticipating that lawmakers will face resistance to the bill when they go home for the August recess, the letter marks the escalation of a campaign in which Republican leaders and donors are pressuring House Republicans to act on an immigration reform bill.
The letter begins: “We write to urge you to take action to fix our broken immigration system.” According to the New York Times, those who have signed include Rove; “former Vice President Dan Quayle; Tom Stemberg, a founder of Staples; and Frank VanderSloot, the founder of Melaleuca Inc.” Romney campaign finance director Spencer Zwick was also signed the letter.
The Times reports that Carlos Gutierrez, former Commerce Secretary for President George W. Bush and a founder of the Republicans for Immigration Reform super PAC, organized the effort. Gutierrez, who has said in the past that English should not be the official language of government, said the letter was “the beginning of a campaign to lobby Republican lawmakers in favor of a broad immigration bill as they return to their districts for the August break.”
“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,” Gutierrez told the Times. “So Republicans who are for immigration reform–and I believe there are many–we need to make our voice known in August.”
The letter also says:
“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.”