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Avoiding GOP Immigration Reform Self-Sabotage, Pt. 4: The Chamber of Commerce

Written by Right Side News

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It's hard to think of a more important member of the Republican establishment than the Chamber of Commerce. The very GOP Immigration Reformname conjures up Republican cultural values and economic goals — business, the free enterprise system, industriousness, delay of gratification, risk taking, resilience — even profit and economic mobility.

The Chamber's enumeration of policy priorities for 2014 is a rather extensive list that runs 29 pages and includes such hearty business perennials as regulation, capital accumulation, deficits and the debt, and many other traditional economic concerns.

Almost all of these items have been at the center of Republican Party concerns over many years and, in turn, the Chamber has given substantial support to the party and especially those members who have mirrored their basic interests.

Given that long and mutually beneficial relationship and the coincidence of policy and values between the two, the Chamber's threat to cut off support to the Republican Party if they did not immediately pass immigration reform this year was as empty as it was startling.

Speaking at an event on infrastructure investment, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue said of the GOP — referring to passing immigration legislation — "If the Republicans don't do it, they shouldn't bother to run a candidate in 2016." The news story that reported that statement was titled, "Chamber of Commerce gives ultimatum to GOP".

The story characterized Mr. Donohue's threat as him "joking", and he was immediately quoted as saying thereafter, "I just did that to get everybody's attention." He apparently has a subtle sense of humor.

His threat is an attempt to pressure the GOP into supporting the Chamber's immigration wish list, whose essential focus is the vast expansion of new visas for low- and high-skilled workers.

A look at the Chamber's policy priorities for 2014 gives a flavor of the breadth of their concerns — ranging from more skilled workers to more low-skilled workers. The Chamber will:

I believe its possible to detect a theme here.

The Chamber is, of course, absolutely within its rights and its purpose as a business organization to advocate for more and more skilled and unskilled workers on top of the one million-plus new legal immigrants who arrive here each year. However, they should at least do so honestly.

Mr. Renshon has been a Center Fellow since 1999 and an expert in the areas of citizenship, national identity and the psychology of immigration. He has testified before Congress several times on these matters and has assisted government net assessments in these areas.

More of Mr. Renshon's writings can be found on his CIS blog here.

Source: Center for Immigrartion Studies

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