Neil Hare: GOP’s winning strategy in 2024 – back to business with immigration reform – West Central Tribune


The GOP’s recent attacks on the business community, including its main advocacy group, the American Chamber of Commerce, arguably contributed to a poor midterm performance in 2022 and are not the answer to successful presidential elections. and Congress in 2024.


The main political targets of these attacks include the Democratic midterm candidates’ trade endorsements, the “wake-up call” in corporate strategy, and support for free trade and immigration reform. Alarmism on these topics has had positive results in rallying some of the GOP base, but most Americans are as proud of our free enterprise system as they are of democracy and our military.

A key area for the GOP to turn the tide is meaningful immigration reform. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, is trying to introduce a bill that would empower the Secretary of Homeland Security to unilaterally bar all undocumented migrants from entering the United States if he deems it necessary to restore the ” operational control”. The so-called Safe and Secure Borders Act of 2023 is being opposed by some Republicans who believe it would prevent legitimate asylum seekers, including children whose lives are in danger, from entering the country . In addition to Republicans opposed to the bill, he is believed to have died upon arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

So why should the GOP pass meaningful immigration reform that garners bipartisan support and more votes? Perhaps a little history can be illustrative regarding the last Republican president to be re-elected, President George W. Bush. Partly because of the controversy surrounding his election, Bush realized how important the support of the business community was for him to overcome doubts about his legitimacy. And, one of the first issues he wanted to address, of critical importance to American business, was immigration reform.

In the summer of 2001, Bush was considering a proposal to grant legal permanent resident status to approximately 3 million Mexicans living illegally in the United States. To underscore the importance of this issue, Bush’s first state visit was with Mexican President Vincente Fox, where immigration reform was high on the agenda. On September 7, 2001, Bush hosted Fox at the White House for his first official state dinner. The dinner ended with an unexpected fireworks display from the Ellipse that surprised many DC residents, wryly wondering if the capital was under attack. And, four days later, it was.

The September 11, 2001 attacks derailed Bush’s plan for an immigration overhaul as he led the country into war to avenge the death and destruction heaped upon our country. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan tightened security and border controls, but did not completely destroy Bush’s desire to reform immigration. After winning re-election in 2004 (the only Republican to do so since Reagan), Bush again backed a measure to grant legal status to 12 million illegal immigrants and allocate $4.4 billion to bolster the border enforcement. In June 2007, the Senate failed to pass the bill because Bush was unable to rally his fellow Republicans who saw “amnesty” as a reward for illegal and unacceptable immigration. The following year, Democrat Barack Obama was elected president.

Today, immigration reform remains a top priority for the business community. On Dec. 13, 2022, the National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Optimism Index showed that while 32% of businesses said inflation was their biggest problem, 44% also said they weren’t. were unable to fill vacancies. The unemployment rate in December was at a historic low of 3.5%. While there are many reasons for the current labor shortage, an outdated and ineffective immigration policy is certainly one of them. From small businesses to the Fortune 500, agriculture, construction, health care, retail and restaurant sectors, companies are supporting comprehensive immigration reform.

Republicans can and should still advocate for stronger border security and even earmark funds for building a wall, which Democrats should accept as long as American companies get the contracts. But maybe instead of a wall, we need security checkpoints like we have at airports. Due to the War on Terror, we have the technology to document and track everyone entering our country, whether by land, air or sea. It is time to understand how to make those who seek to come and work in our country legal immigrants and not “illegal”. Congress can increase visa caps, create new visa categories, and pave the way to legality and citizenship for immigrants without status. Without grandstanding, the answers are bipartisan.

The many Republican candidates for president in 2024 should return to the successful message of being the party of lower taxes, regulation, free trade and the rule of law. Plus, get back to the party that supports corporate America by listening to them and pursuing the policies they need to succeed — like immigration reform that brings more workers into the country. From large public companies fulfilling a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to small businesses supporting their communities, America’s business community is about creating jobs, strengthening our economy and solving problems, and it will support candidates who bring answers and not fear. This message is a recipe for success for either party.

Neil Hare is President and CEO of GVC Strategies, former Vice President of Communications at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and a longtime member of the Chamber’s Small Business Council. The opinions expressed here are his own. The Fulcrum covers what makes democracy dysfunctional and efforts to fix our systems of governance. Send your comments to: [email protected]” target=”_blank” data-cms-ai=”0″>[email protected]

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