Carlos Gutierrez resigns from Citigroup to head up Republican immigration reform effort

Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez has left his job at Citigroup to head up a political action committee designed to support Republicans who back immigration reform.

The recently formed super PAC, called Republicans for Immigration Reform, will financially back Republicans who embrace "common-sense" comprehensive reform, which includes giving legal status to most of the nation's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. It's conceivable that conservative politicians who vote for a pathway to citizenship for this group could face primary challenges from people running to the right of them on immigration, for instance. In those cases, Gutierrez told The Washington Post, the PAC will provide "backup" to Republicans who supported reform.

Gutierrez, who served as secretary of commerce under George W. Bush, immigrated from Cuba with his family when he was 6 years old. He served as CEO of the Kellogg company and more recently as vice chairman of Citigroup.

"The upcoming immigration reform debate will be one of the most important public policy discussions America engages in this century," Gutierrez said in a statement. "In this spirit and understanding, I've decided to dedicate my full time and energy to Republicans for Immigration Reform and this critical legislative effort."