Nearly a hundred top Republican donors andÂ Bush administrationÂ officials sent a letter to the HouseÂ GOPÂ on Tuesday urging lawmakers to pass a bill that legalizes illegal immigrants, arguing that the current system is already allowing them to stay and so it makes sense to register them and bring them into the system.
The donors, led by formerÂ Bush administrationÂ Cabinet officialsÂ Carlos GutierrezÂ andÂ Spencer Abraham, also said that immigrants are potential Republican voters who can be won over â€” if the party can be seen as welcoming to immigrants.
â€œDoing nothing is de facto amnesty. We need to take control of whom we let in our country and we need to make sure everybody plays by the same rules,â€ the donors said in their letter.
They aimed their pitch at House Republicans, who are trying to figure out a way forward and find themselves trapped between angry rank-and-file voters who say legalizing illegal immigrants amounts to amnesty, and party elites and donors who say theÂ GOPÂ cannot survive nationally without embracing legalization as part of a strategy to win over Hispanic voters.
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