Friday, February 3, 2012
ABSTRACT: Recognizing the need for a sympathetic construction of immigrants as a precursor to comprehensive immigration reform that goes beyond enforcement prerogatives, this article surveys the various “faces” of immigration reform - both of advocates for progressive reform and the potentially sympathetic group images they wield. I conclude that no image - whether of undocumented workers generally, farm laborers, immigrant children and Dreamers, or undocumented veterans - is poised to garner sympathy from voters and policymakers, particularly against the backdrop of the current economic crisis. Reform may hinge, then, on interest convergence so powerful that it transcends the prevailing negative portrayals of immigrants and our economic woes. As the article speculates in reviewing various grounds of convergence, an effective convergence may come from a surprising but transitory and muted source - the self-interest of politicians rather than from any innate courage or economic convergence.