I've been impressed with the strong push conservative groups have been making in the last few weeks to remind Republicans that immigration reform is not just backed by liberals. Last week, 600 conservatives participated in the "Bibles, Badges and Business" lobby day in DC and apparently made quite a lot of headway. Today, the American Conservative Union, the organization that puts on CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual meeting that attracts "A" list speakers from the GOP, released a statement urging passage of a reform bill:
“America needs immigration reform. With over 76 million “Baby Boomers” retiring by 2030 and only 46 million Americans poised to take their place in the workforce, it’s clear we need a forward-looking market-based immigration policy which allows for a growing economy and a labor blueprint that plans for the future.

“In addition, we are faced with the reality that our current immigration system is dysfunctional: it encourages illegal immigration, does not meet the labor needs of our economy and does not adequately enforce our laws or secure our borders. Conservatives support immigration reform that spurs economic growth and the creation of good jobs for Americans, protects families, promotes the patriotic assimilation of immigrants and ensures that another wave of illegal immigration does not happen again.

“The House of Representatives is in a unique position to propose genuinely conservative solutions to fix our broken immigration system. We, therefore, encourage the House to continue its work to address the different aspects of the immigration issue in a piecemeal basis through regular order. We recognize that the House Homeland Security and Judiciary Committees have already passed important legislation that would go a long way in solving many of our immigration problems. A conservative package of immigration bills should provide legal status to undocumented immigrants, but not a special path to citizenship; should establish market-oriented mechanisms to meet the demand our economy has for foreign workers at different levels of our labor market; and should set border security triggers that are based on precise measurements that can be verified independently.

“If President Obama and the Democrats are willing to kill immigration reform in the House because they disagree with these principles, it would show that they are more interested in using the issue politically than actually solving the problem. Moreover, House Republicans should only agree to go to conference if Senate Democrats can ensure that there will be a level playing field for open debate and discussion and that they will not try to impose their own bill.”