Renee J. Tello Legal Blog

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Presidential Election Puts Immigration Reform Back in Play


During the debates and throughout the election campaign for the presidency of the United States the big issues were the economy, reducing the deficit and foreign policy.  However, the results of the election illustrated that although all of those issues were major, the ignored issue of immigration proved to be important as well.
Throughout the republican primaries and in the presidential debate the republican candidates took a strong anti-immigrant stance.  For instance, in the primaries Mitt Romney advocated enacting tough policies against undocumented immigrants that would encourage “self-deportation” and said that he would not support the DREAM Act.  In the presidential debate when asked “what do you plan on doing with immigrants without their green cards that are currently living here as productive members of society?”  Mr. Romney advocated for reforming our broken immigration system but also plainly stated “…I will not grant amnesty to those who’ve come here illegally.”  This tough stance on immigration reform and undocumented immigrants may have garnered support from his conservative base; however, it did not bode well with women and minorities, especially Latinos.  According to a Reuters poll, President Obama won 80% of the vote from African Americans, Latinos and other nonwhites, while Mitt Romney won less than 17 % of that demographic.  Moreover, President Obama also gained approximately 55% of the female voters.
The election demographics illustrate that republicans can no longer ignore the issues that are important to the voters in the female and minority demographics, since the white male vote is no longer sufficient to carry a national election. This fact gives me hope that immigration reform may be attainable in the next four years.  Previously the main impediment to passing immigration reform was politics, immigration became a dirty word.  Well immigration no longer a dirty word in politics, it’s the issue that must be dealt with to court the highest growing voter demographic, Latinos.  Since republicans should now see clearly that they need to reach out to Latino voters and helping the president pass immigration reform would be a great start.  As such, since it is now politically positive to now deal with immigration reform Congress may be able to start moving forward on the issue in a substantive way.

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