Bloggings on Immigration Law

by Roger Algase

What Is The Outlook For Immigration Reform After The Election?

No matter who wins Tuesday's election, the issue of comprehensive immigration reform will refuse to go away, especially for the Republican party. Ever since it killed the bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill in the Senate five years ago, Republican anti-immigrant hard liners have been the main obstacle to reform. This is not a partisan statement; it is a matter of simple fact and public record which no one in either party would seriously dispute. 

The question on which the future of immigration reform is likely to depend is whether the Republican party can continue to have any hope of winning national elections in the future if remains up to 50 points behind the Democrats among Latino voters, as some polls are currently showing. The Republicans may get away with it this year. The Latino voting population, even though growing, may not yet be a big enough factor in midwestern swing states such as Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin, to be decisive in this year's election.

And in Florida, where the Latino population is split between old-line, more conservative Cuban-Americans and younger, more Democratic Latino voters from Mexico and other areas, the Republicans may also escape feeling the full effects of their anti-immigrant hard line this year. Nor is it possible to ignore the effects of Republican voter suppression tactics against Latinos and other minorities in Florida (where early voting lines in Miami-Dade and other heavily Latino counties reportedly involved 6-hour waiting periods, while the Democrats were forced to go to court to extend voting hours in Orlando) and other crucial states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Voter suppression itself should be regarded as primarily a legal, not a political, issue. Too many courts have already been involved in striking down discriminatory voter ID laws and other voter suppression tactics in too many states to permit any other conclusion.

But regardless of what happens on November 6, the Republicans cannot possibly be comfortable with a future that depends on holding on to a dwindling white population base. A November 5 Politico article: The looming GOP civil war - whether Mitt wins or not, states that for some longtime Republicans, such as Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour and Lindsay Graham, the party faces an "existential question" on immigration.

The same article quotes Todd Harris, a Republican strategist, as saying: "Too many Republicans treat harsh immigration rhetoric the way a smoker treats cigarettes...You know it's going to kill you, but you do it anyway." Immigration reform may well depend on whether the Republicans can overcome their addiction, no matter who wins the White House this year.

About The Author

Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.
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