All Sides On Board Immigration Reform

immigration reform

A bipartisan group of US senators has unveiled a plan for sweeping immigration reform. The framework, which calls for a ‘path to citizenship’ for many of the 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the US while also tightening border security, is a result of a rare occurrence: Republicans and Democrats working together.

Barack Obama, however, has his own immigration reform plan. Well, actually it’s quite similar. Much like the Senators’ plan, the president backed a comprehensive overhaul of the existing immigration system, securing US borders, and offering a pathway to earned citizenship.

But what’s more interesting is that the immigration reform plan embraced by Obama is remarkably similar to what the George Bush administration proposed in 2006. Both plans call for increased border security, temporary guest-worker programs, requirements for businesses to e-verify their employees, increased visa, incentives for skilled workers, and an eventual pathway to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants. The main difference is that Obama’s immigration reform has a much better chance of passage.

Why the sudden change? Well, the Bush bill ultimately died because of the right wing crowd which touted the bill as “amnesty”. Potential candidates vying for the top spot were quick to jump onboard, in hopes of winning conservative votes. As you may recall from the lead up to the GOP primaries, the candidates were very vocal about their opposition to illegal immigration.

As Herman Cain said about his plan to secure the border with a fence:

 “It’s going to be 20 feet high. It’s going to have barbed wire on the top. It’s going to be electrified. And there’s going to be a sign on the other side saying, ‘It will kill you — Warning.’”

Michele Bachmann expressed a similar sentiment when she spoke of the burdens illegal immigration places on Americans signed a pledge to build a “secure double fence” along every foot of the border with Mexico.

Fast forward to post-election life, and it seems conservatives have finally realized that their hard line on immigration has actually become quite the electoral liability. Obama won 70% of the Hispanic vote in the last election. Hispanics constitutes roughly 17% of America’s population and by 2050 that percentage is estimated to rise to 30%. So… basically they have to be a little less mexican’t and a little more mexican or they will likely lose yet another election.

To its credit, the GOP has been making some efforts recently to improve its standing among minority voters, aside from the bi-partisan Senate plan. They recently held a minority outreach retreat. Which was held at a former slave plantation… Nice.

Long story short, they have a long way to go and a short time to do it.

Via: CNN

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