The demographic cliff is approaching for Republicans and immigration reform, and Rep. Luis Gutierrez took to the House floor yesterday to remind the GOP that they must take action — or else. Without reform, the GOP will head toward another presidential election in 2016 in which they have nothing to show Latino voters. And if they keep shutting themselves out of the White House, George W. Bush could end up being the last Republican president. Watch Rep. Gutierrez’s speech or view the transcript below:
Last week, Tom Donahue, the President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said that if House Republicans fail to pass an immigration reform bill this year, the Republican Party “shouldn’t bother to run a candidate in 2016.”
Even with a majority of Republican voters supporting immigration reform and a majority of Tea Party voters in support, the positions Republican candidates feel they must take in order to win over their base make them unelectable when they face the American people in the general election.
Latino voters are repelled and the loud but small contingent of immigration opponents have backed the Republican Party into a corner they do not have the courage to break out of.
So, Mr. Speaker, I give you George W. Bush, the man who will go down as the last Republican President in American history.
Tom Donahue is right. There is a demographic reality that will make Republicans a footnote in history, just like the Whigs and the Know-Nothings, unless they do something to get the immigration issue off of the table.
There are only 18 legislative days before the July 4th recess – before the campaign season takes over.
But, you still have time to change history.
But if you do nothing on immigration, I guess you can take comfort in knowing that from Abraham Lincoln to George W. Bush, you had a good run.
Freeing the slaves, winning the Civil War, the Interstate Highway system, those all go in the highlight column.
And there have been a few lowlights as well…
All our grandchildren will know of Republicans as a national party will be what they read in their history blogs and Wiki-websites.
And they will look at 2014 as the year it all slipped away, unless you act soon.
With or without immigration reform, Latino voters are a force that is growing faster than Republicans can withstand — and are tilting more towards the Democrats with each day Republicans stand in the way of stopping deportations that are breaking up Latino families.
Today, Tuesday, 2,000 Latino citizens born and raised in the United States will turn 18 and become eligible to vote.
That is 2,000 today and every day until Election Day 2016 and for the next two or three decades, at least. That’s 65,000 citizens a month, with or without immigration reform.
Throw in women, younger voters, Asian voters and others who are strongly in favor of immigration reform and the Republican Party has dug quite a hole for themselves by standing with Steve King.
Two million more Latinos voted in 2008 than in 2004 and tilted heavily to the Democrats after the Sensenbrenner bill, a Republican enforcement-only bill that criminalized immigrant families.
Two million more Latinos voted in 2012 than in 2008 and tilted even farther to my side because of Romney’s message.
And we aren’t even registering the citizens in our community in the numbers that we are capable of. But we are getting better at it with every passing year.
Right now, I think House Republicans are at a crossroads.
Many, including the Speaker — I think — want to get the immigration issue resolved before the 2016 elections.
They know that the next few weeks offer the only chance Republicans have to both solve a tough American issue and get some of the credit for doing so.
Others are already crouching in their anti-Obama bunkers and want to play it safe this year regardless of the consequences for the future.
Conservative columnist Juan Williams calls this the “trap” Obama is setting for the Republican Party.
Williams knows as I do that President Obama can act with or without Congress, given the latitude he has under existing immigration law.
Williams wrote in Roll Call, “The House’s lack of action could open the door for Obama to take unilateral action on immigration reform.
“The political result would be to make heroes of the president and his congressional allies while leaving Republicans to explain why the Tea Party element in the House refused to deal with the immigration crisis.”
He goes on to say, “Such an outcome would cement political loyalty between the growing Latino vote and Democrats. It would also stir the Democrats’ liberal base for the 2014 midterms.”
Williams is right.
You have 18 legislative days left to write the policy, whip the votes and pass the bill.
That is not a lot of time.
Let us work together to put my 200 Democrats together with the 60, 70, or 80 Republicans we can get on board to get a bill — or series of bills — passed and let’s get this done for the American people.
Do it for Abraham. Do it for George. Do it for any little boy or little girl who wants to grow up to be a Republican President.
And most of all, do it for your country.