Advocates of comprehensive immigration reform from big business and technological sectors are reportedly fearing that August, when lawmakers go back home for recess, could be their “Waterloo.”
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) conceded that the Senate’s Gang of Eight, which wrote the immigration bill, was losing the debate and convened a secret meeting last month with industry leaders, lobbyists and technology groups to strategize on how best to target House Republicans who were on the fence. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who has been the face of immigration reform, was absent the from the meeting, continuing his pattern of silence since his signature bill passed the Senate.
According to The Hill, groups that attended the meetings included:
Americans for Tax Reform, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Compete America, Facebook, Intel, Microsoft, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Restaurant Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
As Breitbart News reported, McCain and other immigration reform advocates discussed urging religious leaders to help them build support for the bill in addition to targeting House Republicans in their districts. When word of the meeting got out, pro-immigration reform advocates canceled their next meeting, fearing even more of a backlash. But the strategies they have settled on for the August recess are remarkably similar to those that were reportedly discussed in the secret meeting.
To minimize resistance to immigration reform in August, Republican leadership in the House reportedly slow-walked immigration reform by not bringing any bills to the floor before the break. Still, The Hill reported that the interests who have the most at stake in getting immigration reform passed are still fearful August will be their “Waterloo,” as working class Americans, like they did last decade, refuse to support a bill that the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower their wages.
Republican groups are nonetheless planning to stage “grass-tops” campaigns to make it seem like there is a groundswell of support for comprehensive immigration reform when legislators arrive in their districts for the August recess. Their goal, as Breitbart News’ Matthew Boyle reported, is to just get to conference with the Senate, which is what conservatives ultimately have been fearing since the Senate passed its bill.