For at least eight years, the American business community has held high profile events pushing for comprehensive immigration reform. On Friday, at a press conference at the National Press Club in downtown Washington, D.C, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, Michigan governor Rick Snyder, and George W. Bush’s Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez carried the torch, calling for legislation in stark terms in an attempt to break through the congressional impasse.
“Without immigration [reform] we don’t have a future,” said Bloomberg, asserting as he has in the past, that the current policy is “national suicide.” Snyder opened his remarks with a similarly stark assessment: “To be blunt, we have a dumb system,” he said.
The effort is just the latest by Republican supporters of immigration reform, but the panel was optimistic that movement was possible in coming months. Guiterrez said the Republican Party is “beginning to recognize” that it “must be the party of immigration” if it wants to be the party of small business and free enterprise. “We’d like to think that 2014 is the year,” he said. Bloomberg said the two sides of the debate are “closer today than we have seen in a very long time.” He also gave an endorsement to Speaker of the House John Boehner’s leadership abilities. “If [Boehner] wants to get it done in the House he can get it done,” Bloomberg said.
Boehner will announce in the coming weeks his immigration principles.