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Another Good Weekend for Immigration Reform Prospects

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Immigration reform has cemented its status as the first non-fiscal/budgetary issue on the post-inauguration agenda, with backing for reform continuing to build on the Republican side of the aisle.

Over the past few days, a series of Republican governors have joined the Republican House and Senate leaders expressing support for passing real immigration legislation.  Among the comments from Republican governors include those from Virginia’s Bob McDonnell (R), who said “We have to realize: We’re not going to deport 12 million people…It’s just not going to happen”; from New Mexico’s Susana Martinez (R), who said of Latino voters, “We need to embrace them not just at election time…We have to make them part of the solution, and the way you do that is by listening to them”; and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal (R), who said of the Party’s immigration stance in the 2012 cycle, “Republican candidates this year did a lot of damage to the brand.”

And in addition to the outspoken array of Republican officeholders, former George W. Bush Commerce Secretary and Mitt Romney surrogate Carlos Gutierrez has announced the formation of a new Super PAC titled “Republicans for Immigration Reform.”  As the Associated Press describes and the name suggests, the PAC will “support Republican candidates who back comprehensive immigration reform, including legalizing the status of an estimated 11 million immigrants in the U.S. without authorization.”  Said Gutierrez of the Republican Party and immigration, “If we get this right, the 21st century is ours.  If we get it wrong, shame on us.”  Gutierrez indicated that he hopes to use his PAC to avoid a repeat of the 2012 election cycle, which Gutierrez says led to Latino voters being “scared of the Republican Party…I think it has to do with our incredibly ridiculous primary process where we force people to say outrageous things, they get nominated and they have to come back.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:

It’s heartening to see Republicans of every elected office, region, and ideology embrace the necessity of workable and humane immigration reform – and to start putting their money where their mouths are.  That the timetable for immigration reform has sped up so dramatically is a testament to the depths of the Republican Party’s problems with Latino voters.  To the Republican Party’s credit, they recognize that a repaired relationship with Latino voters can only begin with the GOP sharing the credit with the Democrats for passing humane and workable immigration reform.

As the New York Times stated in its lead editorial in this Sunday’s paper:

The arguments for reform over expulsion have always been smarter, saner and better for the rule of law, the preservation of families and the economy.  Now that some of their opponents are softening their positions, Mr. Obama and Congress need to act.