A growing number of Republicans and conservative groups have begun pushing for comprehensive immigration changes on the eve of President Obama’s inauguration, joining liberal Democrats in hopes of propelling the politically fraught issue forward early in his second term.
The pressure from the right — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Southern Baptist Convention — has given immigration advocates hope that a sweeping overhaul can gain bipartisan support in Congress more easily than other polarizing issues such as gun control, the federal deficit and taxes.
“If we don’t get it right this time, we’re probably going to have to wait another five years,” Carlos Gutierrez, a George W. Bush administration official, said at an immigration panel discussion this week.
The newfound energy among Republicans has developed in part as a reaction to the election, in which Latino and Asian voters overwhelmingly supported Obama and other Democrats.
On Friday, America’s Voice, a liberal immigration advocacy organization, released findings of a new poll that found a broad majority of voters in both parties support a plan that would include a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and stricter border control measures.