Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Not If, But When and How

November 20, 2012 01:12 AM
 

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Republicans must alter election strategy to get presidential candidate election, and some state-wide candidates


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


The Republican Party (GOP) decisively lost the Hispanic vote in the recent elections – President Obama garnered 69 percent of a growing Hispanic vote, which was key in several swing states. The Hispanic vote also proved decisive in several Senate races.

The GOP seemed to go out of their way over the past few years to upset the Hispanic voter – for whatever reasons. Party leaders know that must change in order to avoid being a permanent minority party in the years ahead because the Hispanic voting block is growing with each election, and becoming even more critical in some states with a fast-growing Latino population.

Republicans have had success among Hispanic voters in the past – President George W. Bush received 42 percent of the Hispanic vote, but that tailed off considerably in the 2008 election with GOP candidate John McCain and even more so with losing GOP candidate Mitt Romney. Hispanic voters have a lot of "core values" that Republicans frequently express in their campaigning. This recalls former President Ronald Reagan's line that, "Hispanics are Republicans...they just don't know it."

While Hispanic voters are not single-issue voters, they do want comprehensive immigration reform. There now appears to be a consensus in Washington that this issue will cross the sensitive end zone, with no one willing to put much money on the timeline. Still, some say the matter will likely be dealt with with an 18-month timeline.

Whenever comprehensive immigration reform comes, it will likely eventually include the following key features:

  1. Border protection. This must and will come first, and will likely include several phased-in programs.

  2. Enforcement. Programs like e-verify and other enforcement mechanisms must be in place to help businesses and others verify citizenship or some other status.

  3. Seasonal workers. More flexibility in this area will definitely help the US agricultural sector, which has seen a shortage of labor at critical times in the food business – horticulture, fruit and vegetable production, meat processing, etc.

  4. A more permanent accommodation for the children of illegal immigrants.

  5. And the most important item: a pathway toward citizenship for the 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States. This will not be outright amnesty. The likely scenario will be this group will have to pay a fine for their prior illegal activity. They will be given an identification status, after which they must pay US taxes, but will be unable to garner many US citizen benefits until after they apply for citizenship and receive citizenship – a process that could take 8 to 10 years to complete.

 


 

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


 


 

 

 

 

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