Curtis Tate, McClatchy Newspapers
July 22, 2013
WASHINGTON — As a comprehensive immigration overhaul appears stuck, for the moment, in the House of Representatives, an influential coalition is betting that members of Congress from California can break the logjam.
Prominent Republicans and their traditional allies in the business community frame an immigration overhaul as both crucial to the economy and the long-term prospects of the party. And they are waging an educational campaign to encourage California lawmakers to lead the way.
“It’s an issue that attracts a lot of emotions, and we want to make sure people have the facts,” said California Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Allan Zaremberg.
Last week, CalChamber began a public push for a House vote on a bipartisan bill the Senate approved last month. And because Republicans are in the majority, CalChamber’s effort is focused on the state’s 15 GOP lawmakers in the House.
Zaremberg said that there’s “no question that Republicans are a target” of the chamber’s efforts.
“They have the opportunity to have a great deal of influence,” he said. “If you’re a Republican and you care about jobs and the economy, it’s important for you to understand the consequences.”
The Senate last month approved a bipartisan bill that would increase funding for border security, create a guest-worker program and establish a path to citizenship for those living in the country illegally. But when, and how, the effort moves forward depends on the House Republicans, where there is considerably more resistance.
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