Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), currently working on a bipartisan immigration reform bill in the House, praised the RNC for calling on Republicans to abandon their past opposition to such efforts. He noted that it was a major shift from just a year ago, when Mitt Romney espoused a much more hardline position.
"The politics on immigration have evolved so quickly since Election Day in the GOP that it makes your head spin. They were committed to driving 11 million undocumented immigrants, mostly Latinos, out of the country through 'self-deportation' and self-destructive Arizona-style anti-immigrant laws. That was not only what their presidential candidate embraced, it was in the party platform.
"Elections are powerful things. Now the GOP sees that unless they stop talking about kicking millions of Latino immigrants and their families out of our country, they cannot effectively talk to Latinos about anything else. It is good to have the GOP back at the table discussing how to resolve a tough policy problem, conscientiously, seriously, and not just thinking how to exploit this division at election time. Right now, we need to forget about who is going to get credit and have both parties serve the people's interest by getting immigration reform done.
"I see this change in every conversation I have with Republicans on the Hill. I see it in the Immigration Subcommittee chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC). We are talking about how to legalize hard working immigrants who have lived here for years or decades and how to keep their families together. We are no longer arguing with the opponents of legal immigration in the GOP Caucus who have driven the Republican position on immigration for decades and led them off an electoral and demographic cliff.
"There are a lot of reasons for optimism that Congress will pass immigration reform this year and the return of reasonable Republicans to the table is one of them."