Congressional Republicans saw their approval ratings take a nosedive during the October government shutdown, and that diminishing support may be just the inspiration they need to make a concerted effort to pass immigration reform by the end of the year.
Republicans need the support of immigrants
As the public’s displeasure with Republicans continues to mount, they are eager to find support wherever possible. That makes gaining votes from the immigrant community – especially Hispanics – even more important heading into the 2014 mid-term elections.
And it’s not just Republicans who are feeling the pressure to pass an immigration reform bill. Congressional Democrats are faring little better than their Republican counterparts in the public’s mind, and working in a bipartisan manner could help them regain trust as well.
“The stakes are higher now,” Kevin Appleby, the director of migration policy at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which favors immigration reform, told the Salt Lake Tribune. “With the water that was taken on by both parties, they need to demonstrate they can do something in a bipartisan manner.”
Conservative businessmen head to the capital
In an effort to urge their legislators to get to work on a path to citizenship for immigrants, a group of conservative business leaders headed to Washington, D.C., at the end of October. And they began their lobbying for immigration reform before they even got on the plane.
The self-described conservative businessmen were able to talk to four Utah congressmen in the Salt Lake City airport before they all boarded flights to the nation’s capital. They made a plea to not only pass comprehensive immigration reform, but to do it as soon as possible.
“Our plea is to act now, do it now, lead,” Stan Lockhart, a former chairman of the Utah Republican Party, said in an interview with the New York Times. “Ask House leadership to lead, and let’s pass what’s possible now.”
The hope is that pressure from the right side of the political spectrum will inspire greater momentum toward reform.