There is reason to be cautiously optimistic about the road that lies ahead toward immigration reform. After four years of inaction, the president is now focused on repairing his legacy with the Hispanic community. On the other hand, after the lessons learned from the 2012 presidential elections, a broad group of conservatives have embraced the concept of a long-lasting fix to our broken immigration system.
Across the nation, conservative governors are not only paying attention, but coming out in full force for reform.
- Jennifer Korn
There is new momentum for immigration reform and conservatives are leading the way. This week, the Hispanic Leadership Network (HLN), a national organization that strives to engage Hispanics on center-right issues, launched an advocacy campaign in support of fixing our broken and antiquated immigration system. The campaign includes a six-figure ad buy on ABC, FOX, and Univision.
The ad, entitled “Be Part of the Solution,” features former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez calling on Washington to pass immigration reform “that grows the economy and respects the rule of law.” Last month, Secretary Gutierrez resigned his senior position at Citigroup Inc. to become chairman of a pro-immigration reform super PAC. He will not only be an invaluable ally in HLN’s advocacy campaign, but a powerful force in his own right as the legislative process moves forward.
HLN’s paid media campaign is only one of a series of initiatives aimed at growing our members across the nation and activating them to play a key role in the grassroots movement behind a bipartisan deal to fix our broken immigration system once and for all. HLN’s members support the work of the Senate, led by Senator Marco Rubio, to achieve a reform that addresses the main problems of our broken system — strengthening our southern border, overhauling our legal visa system, implementing a viable temporary worker program, and creating a fair but tough plan for earned legal status.
Also this week, HLN Co-Chair Jeb Bush will jump-start the public debate beyond the halls of Congress with the official launch of “Immigration Wars.” In the book, Governor Bush and constitutional lawyer Clint Bolick lay out a strategy to do away with all that is wrong with our current system and have a fresh, new start. “Immigration Wars” offers sensible advice to all conservatives.
In the last few weeks, we have also been encouraged by the news of other conservative governors who have added their voices to the chorus advocating for immigration reform. Those include Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee. In calling for reform, it became evident that these leaders understand that immigration reform is needed to further our economic development.
In Washington, the push to overhaul our immigration system has now been embraced by the top brass of conservative congressional leaders, from Speaker John Boehner to former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Across the nation, conservative governors are not only paying attention, but coming out in full force for reform. Even in the media, conservative commentators like Sean Hannity have jumped in the reform bandwagon. Lastly, and more importantly, poll after poll shows that there is an increasing appetite among conservative voters to see this issue resolved.
This momentum and new appreciation for the changing face of our electorate should give conservatives in Congress the impetus to do what is morally right, economically wise, and politically prudent.
Jennifer S. Korn is Executive Director of the Hispanic Leadership Network. Previously, she served in President George W. Bush's White House as Director of Hispanic Affairs.