Immigration Reform: Why Democrats Want It and Republicans Need It
Bipartisanship Allows for Progress on Legislation
Published: Friday, February 8, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 10, 2013 17:02
Last week, a bipartisan group of eight Senators laid out a proposal for a comprehensive new immigration policy. Leading the charge were Marco Rubio, a Republican Senator from Florida and Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York.
Although the process to comprehensively change American immigration policy is just beginning, the bi-partisan leadership attempting to push this bill through Congress is certainly a good sign.
Three months ago, President Barack Obama was reelected with approximately 51% of the popular vote. In the process, however, he earned 71% of the Latino vote, the largest growing demographic in America today. Former Governor Mitt Romney only received 29% of the Latino vote.
In 2004, when President George W. Bush was reelected, he earned 44% of the Latino vote.
Therefore, in just eight years, the Republican Party lost 15% of the vote from a demographic that will likely decide swing states and even elections for years to come.
These numbers are the exact reason why many Republicans today are beginning to embrace immigration reform.
Some Republicans are even examining the possibility of including the controversial “Amnesty Clause” that would allow for a path to citizenship for the roughly eleven million immigrants who currently live in America illegally.
In the current bill submitted by Rubio and Schumer, a version of this Amnesty Clause is included, contingent upon “securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required.”
There is much debate over whether or not Republicans in the House of Representatives would willingly get behind this proposal, but they certainly should.
President Obama announced that he would release his own immigration bill to push through Congress if the “Gang of Eight” senators are unable to pass their own version.
While more conservative Republicans may very well disagree with several of the key aspects of the immigration bill, especially the Amnesty Clause, they certainly will be no happier if President Obama gets his bill through and is able to obtain credit for it in the process.
Republicans need to realize that the Democrats, fresh off of a series of victories in the general election, hold most of the cards.
By following Rubio, a Cuban-American himself, the right wing can begin to pick up some of the Latino demographic.
If, however, the House Republicans shoot down the current version of the bill and Obama is able to pass his own rendition, the Democrats will continue to garner support from America’s largest growing demographic, hurting the right wing for years to come.