Saturday, November 10, 2012

Will Conservatives Change Their Tune on Immigration Reform?

In his victory speech Tuesday night, President Barack Obama noted that the time was now for comprehensive immigration reform.  There are some indications that Republicans, who have blocked immigration reform for nearly a decade, may reconsider the enforcement-only approach to immigration reform.  Besides blocking immigration reform, Republicans have affirmatively attacked immigrants, "anchor babies", "illegals", etc., championed "self deportation", and supported measures like Arizona's S.B. 1070 (and the many copycats).

As the Julia Preston story that Rose Villazor posted earlier this morning states, conservatives in digesting the results of Election 2012 appear to be seriously reconsidering the tough-on-nails approach to immigration that was popular among Republican candidates, including Mitt Romney,in the primaries and is represented by Kris Kobach, an advisor to the Romney campaign.  A reconsideration of the Republican Party's opposition to immigration reform seems appropriate given that, despite some criticism from Latinos and others for his administration's enforcement-oriented approach to immigration, President Obama received more than 70 percent of the Latino vote.

Republicans appear to see the writing on the wall.  Look at who has seen the light in just the last few days.  Conservative commenator Sean Hannity now reportedly supports a path to legalization.  Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner endorsed comprehensive immigration reform on Thursday noting “I think a comprehensive approach is long overdue, and I’m confident that the president, myself, others, can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all.”

In December, law enforcement and business leaders will convene a National Strategy Session: Forging a Path Forward on Immigration. Leaders across the political spectrum will launch a push for reform. Confirmed speakers include Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, and Karen Bremer, executive director of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

We will see whether Congress, with the leadership of President Obama, can put together a politically viable comprehensive immigration reform bill.  The time is right.  But the question remains:  Will our political leaders make comprehensive immigration reform a reality in the next four years?  Rest assured that Latino voters will be watching.


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