Norquist pushes GOP toward immigration reform at Midwest immigration conference

By Aarian Marshall

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN. October 12, 2012 - Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist asked the Republican Party to reverse its hard-line stance on immigration Friday at the Midwest meeting of the Forging a New Consensus on Immigrants and America Conference. Norquist, the conference's keynote speaker, was joined by Midwestern members of the agribusiness community in his call for a more “common sense” approach to immigration reform.

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“Immigration is the next important thing to focus on if you're interested in American economic power,” Norquist told the assembled crowd, made up of 80 faith, law enforcement and business leaders from 10 Midwestern states.  But Republicans are loath to tackle the issue, and “There is no policy without dealing with politicians,” Norquist warned.

Norquist argued out that the conservative reluctance to deal with immigration is based on faulty logic. While “polls show 70% of people think there are too many immigrants,” the strategist claimed that pollsters do not ask respondents whether immigration is a topic that actually moves vote-Norquist alleged that it is not. Instead of despairing the Republican position, then, the keynote speaker asked immigration proponents to “walk [politicians] through” the case for reform.  

Though Norquist did not outline a specific blueprint for the restructuring of current policies, he did emphasize that change needs to take precedence over stronger enforcement of existing legislation. “If the speed limit were 55 [miles per hour], would we enforce it, then change the law?” he asked the audience.

“The dice are fixed, guys,” Norquist continued. “Pro-immigration keeps winning.” By showing the GOP that “the business community cares,” the Republican strategist hopes to keep his party from what another conference participant called “the wrong side of history.”

Members of the agribusiness community, who spoke to the conference before Norquist, made similar economic arguments for a new approach to immigration.

Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform in 1985. 60 Minutes recently called Norquist “more responsible, more than anyone else, for rewriting the dogma of the modern GOP.” 


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