Former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York will be in Washington next Friday, along with members of the United States Chamber of Commerce and several prominent Republicans, to pressure Republican lawmakers to take up an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws before the end of the current Congress.
The immigration summit, which will be Mr. Bloomberg’s first major public policy event since stepping down as mayor, is pegged to President Obama’s coming State of the Union address, in which he is likely to address problems with the country’s immigration system. The event’s organizers also hope to capitalize on momentum in the Republican-controlled House, where Speaker John A. Boehner and his leadership team are preparing to release a policy blueprint that is likely to include at least some path to legal status for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country.
Other participants include Carlos Gutierrez, who was secretary of commerce under President George W. Bush and a founder of Republicans for Immigration Reform, a “super PAC”; Gov. Rick Snyder, Republican of Michigan; and Randy Johnson, senior vice president at the Chamber of Commerce.
The leaders plan to focus on the economic case for immigration reform, which they hope will be a compelling argument for Republican lawmakers — many of whom consider any overhaul that includes a path to legal status to be amnesty — to take home to their districts.
“If there was ever a notion that immigration reform was a progressive cause, that notion is clearly no longer true, because you see Republicans of all stripes understanding that immigration reform is essential to the country’s prosperity, to economic prosperity and certainly to the political prosperity of any national party,” said John Feinblatt, the chairman of the Partnership for a New American Economy, the immigration group that was founded by Mr. Bloomberg.
He added that Mr. Bloomberg’s willingness to use his first postmayoral trip to Washington to push for an immigration overhaul “is a clear signal of his passion for the issue and his intention to accelerate his support.”