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US Immigration Reform Battle Has Electoral Implications

US Immigration Reform Battle Has Electoral Implicationsi
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August 29, 2013
The fate of U.S. immigration reform could hinge on whether the Republican-controlled House of Representatives embraces a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. In the second of a two-part report, VOA's Michael Bowman looks at opposition to a comprehensive bill - and the possible political fallout if the reform effort fails.
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Michael Bowman
— The fate of U.S. immigration reform could hinge on whether the Republican-controlled House of Representatives embraces a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. Opposition to a comprehensive bill persists, and there could be political fallout if the reform effort fails.

Backers of immigration reform have held large-scale rallies to pressure lawmakers. Opponents have held fewer and smaller events like this one in Richmond, Virginia, attended by an arch-foe of a path to citizenship for the undocumented.

“If we reward people for breaking the law, we get more law-breakers. They got here on their own, and if the opportunities are not here - if we shut down the jobs magnet, if we secure the border - then a lot of people will find a way back to their home country,” said Republican Congressman Steve King.

The event was held near the district of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. He and Speaker John Boehner will decide if the chamber ultimately votes on a reform package.

“If immigration reform fails to pass, Republicans will get the blame," said Republican strategist John Feehery. He said his party risks the wrath of America’s fastest-growing segment: Hispanics.

“If they alienate this voting bloc, they are going to have a coalition that will continually vote against them, and they will be in big trouble,” he said.

In 2012, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney got less than 30 percent of the Hispanic vote.

The party's stance on immigration reform is a big reason why, according to activist Angelica Salas. “They [Republicans] keep reminding us of why we should not vote for them or stand with them.”

The voting trend is confirmed by Hispanic researcher Mark Lopez at the Pew Research Center. “We have seen a surge in the number of Hispanics who identify with or lean towards the Democratic Party in recent years.”

Lopez adds that immigration reform, however, is only one issue Hispanics care deeply about. Others include economic opportunity and education. Lopez said the Hispanic electorate stands at 23 million today, and could reach 40 million by 2030.

“In the last decade, Hispanics alone accounted for more than half of U.S. population growth.  Moving forward, they will continue to account for a significant share, perhaps even a majority of U.S. population growth,” he said.

Republican Strategist Feehery sees little chance of passing immigration reform this year, but hopes his party eventually will embrace a path to citizenship for the undocumented.

“What people vote for, ultimately, is their pocketbooks. And I think that as Hispanic voters become more prosperous and are introduced more to the mainstream of American society, they will start voting their pocketbooks [in their economic interests] and they will look at Republicans. The reason I think we should pass comprehensive immigration reform is to speed that process along,” he said.

House Speaker John Boehner said he knows immigration reform is needed. “The current system is broken. It needs to be fixed.”

Boehner has ruled out, though, a vote on a bill not backed by a majority of his caucus. That would appear to rule out a path to citizenship, for now.

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by: tombarnes from: md
August 30, 2013 12:30 PM
For the Republicans to get 50 + 1 % in the next election,
they need
16% more Black votes
or 21% more Hispanic votes
or 3% more White votes.
Which do you think is easiest?

In Response

by: Eleonor Rigbi
August 31, 2013 2:39 AM
They could get a good chunk of the hispanic vote if they bring a solution about family values and unity, like not deporting or not destroying families.

In Response

by: Michael Dre beats from: Palm Beach
August 31, 2013 1:30 AM
Very well said, another republican member that makes me proud to say Am a republican.


by: CUNOS from: ILLINOIS
August 30, 2013 12:07 AM
I REALLY HOPE THAT GOP IT WILL GOING DOWN AND THAT THEY WILL BE BLAME FOR NOT PASSING IMMIGRATION REFORM! I AM REALLY AGAINST REPUBLICAN PARTY AND THERE IDEOLOGY OF HUMAN HATE ! SO PEOPLE WILL NEVER BELIEVE AND NEVER VOTE FOR REPUBLICAN PARTY AGAIN! GOP 1 IS THE ENEMY OF USA ! I RESPECT OBAMA THE GREAT LIDER OF OUR NATION ! GOD BLESS AMERICA

In Response

by: Jafo from: Florida
August 31, 2013 4:23 PM
It's obvious you're on the safety net. I don't think the USA should allow law breakers into this country. You're biased because you're a latin. However, I'm a hard pressed Democrat that spawned from European settlers. The true Americans in this country!!! Go home!!!!!!!!!

In Response

by: MasonNY from: Rego Park NY
August 30, 2013 1:25 PM
Many people oppose a path to citizenship (as do I, a Democrat). People who migrated to the U.S. for economic reasons shouldn't be demanding a path to citizenship. I believe there should be some kind of legal status for them, yes, and a stop to deportations. I still oppose a path to citizenship. The Democratic Party and Hispanic lobby have pushed for citizenship and did not want to compromise with those of us who oppose it. They miscalculated, and so immigration reform is dead.


by: joel e from: Colorado
August 29, 2013 2:57 PM
“If immigration reform fails to pass, Republicans will get the blame," said Republican strategist John Feehery. He said his party risks the wrath of America’s fastest-growing segment: Hispanics.
=======================
It is not the fastest growing segment at all. The illegal aliens, and particularly the Hispanic Illegal Aliens are the fastest growing group in the nation, and as long as we five the WIC's, or Women with Infant Children, the idea of having a child which is presumably a citizen, but is not, is a great way to keep up with inflation. Hispanic Citizens, and all the other groups in the United States, are sort of at a stand still. So rogue employers are helping them come in as they disregard the law with Congresses consent, but that won't last.


by: Suzanne from: New York
August 29, 2013 2:23 PM
There is something all of you fail to realize. Behind and next to each undocumented citizen is a circle of friends and family and a community support system who are not undocumented and who are registered voters. Remember all of the school teachers in America who love to vote and love those little undocumented children in their classrooms. I am one of them. The power is much greater than any of you know.Just wait and see or pass a path to citizenship before the next election.

In Response

by: Dickie Vee
August 30, 2013 5:08 AM
Suzanne,
I wonder if you are also teaching the children of any of the 20 million Americans who are out of work. You know the ones who paid taxes and your salary as a public school educator. (I don't ink you work at a private school because most undocumented go to public school).
And for your working parents who have students at your school, do you explain to them why their child's electives are being cut because the school has to offer more English as a Second Language for kids who don't speak English. There are only limited resources but I'm sure you are willing to take a cut in pay to do your part.
And you wonder why so many schools are failing.


by: Dave from: Kansas
August 29, 2013 5:42 AM
"“If they alienate this voting bloc, they are going to have a coalition that will continually vote against them, and they will be in big trouble,” he said."


And nobody has ask the Hispanic Voters what do they base their support on for amnesty of 11 million illegal aliens?

In Response

by: Ben from: Seattle
August 31, 2013 4:33 PM
I'm sorry guys, you're right. Immagration reform would be bad for the USA. I was reading too many publications. You guys put some sense in my noggin. I wasn't thinking about the 20 million Americans out of work. That would only add to the 20 million and create 31 million out of work. Then we have to worry about them getting on welfare and other programs. Over 40% of Latin Americans are already on social welfare. It would be a nightmare for this country. Also, most of these people can't even speak English or write it.

In Response

by: MasonNY from: Rego Park NY
August 30, 2013 1:19 PM
@Ben. Immigration reform is dead because of Democratic intransigence over a path to citizenship. I am a Democrat who would support some form of legalization for illegal immigrants, but never, never will I support a path to citizenship. The U.S. is a country, not an economic enterprise zone. For many of us -- and I consider myself a liberal Democrat -- U.S. citizenship has a meaning. Since 1900, there has been a legal pathway to both immigration and citizenship. Hispanic migrants as well as Irish immigrants overstaying in New York have broken our laws. No, they will never deported en masse, and yet progressives think these folks should be rewarded with U.S. citizenship. That's unacceptable to me, and it is why the Senate bill is doomed: the pathway to citizienship. It will not happen soon, as Republicans and conservatives will pick up Congressional seats in 2014 and 2016 (whether the next president is Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Christie or Rubio). It's over, and progressives' hubris and pandering to the Hispanic lobby have killed it.

In Response

by: Ben from: Seattle
August 29, 2013 6:29 PM
"there is a very ugly feeling about the efforts of the Senate to thug us."
The Senate bill passed with a significant bipartisan majority and it would pass the house TOMORROW in the same fashion if the Republican leadership had the guts to put it to a vote. You are fooling yourself if you think a majority of Americans are not open to the idea of at least providing some sort of legal status to the 11 million. Again, you and your inability to have an open mind about this issue is a perfect example of why the Republicans are being deserted en-masse by Hispanics, even in places like Florida where they once had a solid block of Hispanic conservatives to rely on. Texas is next and then the Republicans can say goodbye to their status as a national party. If you fail to change with the changing times you go the way of the dinosaur.

In Response

by: mark from: California
August 29, 2013 3:29 PM
Dave, the more they are hiding, the more the economy is not benefitting..so if they work legally they can boost more the economy! get it! now, with fake social security numbers, govt is just taking the money..how much more those who has no SS numbers and they will contribute..even you will benefit later on.

In Response

by: joel e from: Colorado
August 29, 2013 2:48 PM
Any thinking person who has explored this issue knows that it is more complex than that. If the Republicans insist on this kamikaze mission to sink the best chance at meaningful immigration reform in a generation, they can say goodbye to any hopes they have of regaining the White House.
===============================
The Democrats don't mind at all if the illegal aliens run the foreign policy of the United States, or the internal immigration affair of the United States, but American Citizens do mind. And in fact, if you look at reputable polls on the subject (ones that publish the basis for the poll) you will discover the numbers have not changed in a long, long time. 70% of us do not want citizenship, and there is a very ugly feeling about the efforts of the Senate to thug us. Over 60% do not want unlimited, or as many Green Cards. I think the Republicans are going to win, and I think you will be going home.

In Response

by: Maddy from: victor
August 29, 2013 10:37 AM
There are plenty of Hispanics who will vote Republican ONLY if amnesty FAILS to pass.

Hispanics aren't stupid, they don't want 20-25 mn new folks competing with them for scarce jobs.

I'm an immigrant - legal- myself and definitely do NOT support any form of amnesty.

In Response

by: Ben from: Seattle
August 29, 2013 10:03 AM
Do you know why Hispanics will never vote for the Republicans in large numbers? Its because of you and people like you. Your inability to see this issue in terms other than "amnesty for 11 million illegals." Any thinking person who has explored this issue knows that it is more complex than that. If the Republicans insist on this kamikaze mission to sink the best chance at meaningful immigration reform in a generation, they can say goodbye to any hopes they have of regaining the White House.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 29, 2013 1:37 AM
I understand republican's position. All laws should be complied and undocumented immigrants are illegal. But at the same time, I feel present status should not be easily ruled out. US has been interested in and aiding foreign people struggling in poverty. I am sure US can afford to educate and offer jobs to undocumented people in its soil. US is a country founded by immigrants from the beginning.

In Response

by: Dickie Vee
August 30, 2013 5:16 AM
20 million Americans out of work. Trillions borrowed from China and you think the "US can afford to educate and offer jobs" to people who are not even from the country?

Geeze. Where would we get the money from? No don't tell me, we'll just have the U.S. mint print more money.

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