The US Chamber of Commerce claims that immigration is one of its biggest priorities and has pledged to give its support to those candidates favoring reform, including providing a path to US citizenship for undocumented immigrants; however, its pattern of outside spending and endorsement sometimes flies in the face of this public stance.
The university system in California and the state’s technology and agriculture sectors see immigration as one of their primary concerns, as these industries depend on a variety of low- and high-skilled immigrant workers from overseas nations. Advocacy groups for these industries pay frequent visits to Washington to lobby Congress over the issue; however, the spending numbers of the Chamber of Commerce show an effort to increase the power of the Republican party in the House of Representatives and to give the party the Senate majority.
The chamber has spent big money to help defeat lawmakers who support immigration reform, although these candidates may be at odds with the organization when it comes to other issues. “There are some issues that the business community would never, ever dream of supporting a candidate with whom they disagree,” says the University of Southern California’s Jesse M Unruh Institute of Politics executive director Dan Schnur. “Immigration isn’t one of them.”
The president and chief executive officer of the chamber, Tom Donohue, declared earlier this year that the group intended to “pull out all the stops” to ensure the enactment of immigration reform; however, the organization has spent $28m supporting political candidates this year, very few of whom agree with its stance.