Monday, April 13, 2015
Immigration Reform in the 2016 Presidential Election
To this point, Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul, and Hillary Clinton have declared themselves as candidates for President in the 2016 election. Others, including Sen. Marco Rubio (who has waffled on immigration reform), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and Jeb Bush, are waiting in the wings. With President Obama's expanded deferred action program bogged down in litigation, immigration reform and border enforcement likely will be significant issues in the presidential campaign.
To this point, the Republican candidates seem to be firmly committed to opposing President Obama's executive actions and comprehensive immigration reform, putting few constructive immigration proposals on the table. The lone declared Democratic candidate supports the President's actions and comprehensive reform. All candidates to this point have at various times express3ed support for increased border enforcement, although the emphasis among the candidates differs to a certain extent.
Hopefully, we will see immigration addressed constructively in the primary campaigns. The last campaign seemed something of a race to the bottom among the Republican candidates, all seeking to appear as hawkish on immigration as possible. (Remember Herman Cain proposing electrifying the border fence?). Time will will where immigration goes in the campaign ahead.
Two recent events suggest where immigration will be go in the near future. It does appear that the President's deferred action programs, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, are in jeopardy if one of the current Republican candidates is elected President. In addition, the furor over the President's latest actions on immigration will likely shape how the candidates address the issue in the campaign. Unfortunately, at this time, the national discussion is shrill and may not culminate in congressional action on immigration in the near future.