The Republican National Committee voted yesterday to back President Bush’s call for a guest-worker program.
Meeting a few blocks from the White House at the Capital Hilton, the umbrella organization of the Republican Party adopted a resolution that calls for continued legal immigration, criticizes illegal immigration and endorses a new work program for foreign workers. However, the resolution states there should be “no amnesty for those persons presently in the United States illegally.”
“The question is not ‘Is there an issue?’—the question is ‘How you deal with it?’ and I think we have to deal with it in a comprehensive way—we don’t have to deal with it in a way that’s anti-immigrant,” said party Chairman Ken Mehlman, who said the resolution “reflected where the president was.”
The resolution, adopted by voice vote, was a major victory for Mr. Mehlman and headed off a divisive vote on an alternate resolution that would have put the party on record as opposing a guest-worker program, thus at odds with Mr. Bush.
Randy Pullen, Arizona’s committeeman, had gained enough signatures from fellow RNC members to force a vote on a version that specifically opposed a guest-worker program.
But after the pro-guest worker resolution passed Mr. Pullen withdrew his plan from the floor.
“Sometimes you’ve got to know when you’ve lost and move on,” Mr. Pullen said afterward. He said he was not pressured to withdraw his resolution. He was the only RNC member to say “no” during the vote on the pro-guest worker resolution.