He argued that it’s bad policy because it’s not what is best for the American people. It would take away jobs from U.S. citizens, and bids down the price of labor, he said. It would be bad politics because allowing illegal immigrants to one day become citizens and vote would only mint new Democratic voters.
“In the long run, the Republican party would be destroyed,” Rohrabacher said. “Within 10 years it means the demise of the Republican party as we are pushed out, even in California, to zero.”
He also called for self-deportation, similar to what Romney suggested.
Supporters of reform disagree. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a member of the immigration group in the Senate, pointed to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday that showed 73 percent of Republicans support a path to citizenship when told that that pathway would require paying fines and back taxes, as well as passing a security-background check.
“They have to learn English, pay back taxes, get in line behind everybody else,” McCain said. “That is the fairness part that appeals to people. They want the issue resolved, but they don’t want instant citizenship as a reward for acting illegally. So I think American public opinion and Republican opinion is in favor as long as there are those provisions.”
“The other thing is that they believe that there will be enough border security that we will not have a third wave” of illegal immigration, McCain continued.
Gutierrez said there is a bipartisan deal to be had and that he will continue to reach out to conservatives to invite them to work on a proposal that can pass the House.
“I think the American public is going to be behind us on this issue,” Gutierrez said. “I am going to continue to work to outreach to them to see if we can’t have them join this movement for fairness and justice for immigrants.”
Gutierrez noted that Republican conservatives Ryan and Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, are both looking on board with tackling the issue.
“On April 22 Mr. Ryan is going to be in Chicago and he is going to share a podium with me, we are going to give our views on the future and we are going to lay them out for the American people,” Gutierrez said. “And he’s a pretty conservative Republican, if you ask me.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., walks on Broadway after a Future Forum with young entrepreneurs in the Flatiron District of New York City, April 16, 2015. Reps. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Grace Meng, D-N.Y., also attended.