Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly said he backs the Senate’s Gang of Eight proposal to overhaul immigration reform.
“It’s not perfect, but it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
O’Reilly said immigration reform was politically necessary for Republicans, as Hispanic voters have fled the Republican Party in recent elections.
“The Republican Party has a lot to lose here,” he said. “If it doesn’t compromise, many Hispanic voters will reject the GOP entirely, pretty much dooming the party in the future.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), a member of the Gang of Eight and the central GOP figure in the immigration reform debate, has insisted that politics are not a driving factor in the reform push.
On Thursday, Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) announced a breakthrough agreement to bolster security along the southern border. Rubio supports the amendment, and has said he hopes it will solidify bipartisan support for the Gang of Eight immigration reform bill.
Rubio’s praise and O’Reilly’s reach could be critical in helping the measure win Republican support for passing immigration reform with an overwhelming majority in the Senate.
Rubio has been in the crosshairs of conservatives who have criticized the legislation as weak on border security. Corker said his amendment was so strong on border security that it was “almost overkill.”