The Washington Times - January 12, 2013, 11:31AM

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will be joining a broad coalition of law enforcement officials, faith groups and immigrant-rights activists Thursday in concerted push for the Obama administration and Congress to pass a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws this year.

The National Press Club event Thursday afternoon is scheduled to include Chamber President Thomas J. Donahue, former George W. Bush administration Commerce Department chief Carlos Gutierrez, now a vice chairman at Citigroup, Indiana Attorney General Gregory F. Zoeller and members of the National Immigration Forum and faith-based organizations.


Chamber officials, in announcing the event, said that what they called a growing bipartisan “economic imperative to improve our immigration process” in the just-elected 113th Congress “marks the best opportunity for broad immigration reform in nearly a decade.”

Immigration activists say the results of the 2012 election — in which Republicans fared poorly with Hispanic voters in part because of their stand on immigration — has provided a major spark for a comprehensive rewrite of the nation’s immigration laws, something President Obama promised in his first term but could not deliver.

Mr. Donahue said in his annual “State of the Chamber” address Jan 10 that immigration reform — including a guest worker program for U.S. employers — would be a top priority this year for his organization.

The nation’s largest business lobby has been seeking to build a broad coalition for the lobbying push for action, noting he has even been working with AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka on the issue.

Mr. Donahue praised the labor group’s leader as “the best guy in town” at building political coalitions.