If there is any doubt that a Senate takeover by the Republicans in the midterm elections next week will ring the death knell on any type of comprehensive immigration reform bill in Congress, it is fast dissipating. Pro-immigrant voters in the battleground states of Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, and Virginia should go to the polls on Tuesday and bring whoever shares their views with them. All leading polls rate the Republican Party’s chances of Senate takeover at over 60%. However, many of the races are tight with the percentage differential between the 2 candidates 3% or less. A surge of voters one way or another could tip the balance of power.

The to-do lists of both parties in the event of a Republican takeover do not include immigration. As reported in the New York Times on October 23, 2014, the Republican list includes approving the Keystone XL pipeline; expanding offshore well drilling; blocking federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing; opening national forests to timber companies; cutting parts of the Affordable Care Act; revamping Medicare and Medicaid and significantly reducing other domestic and military spending while sharply cutting taxes. The New York Times also reported on October 29, 2014, that the Democratic list is comprised of possible areas of compromise such as trade deals, a corporate tax overhaul and infrastructure spending plan, and initiatives in education and research and development.

The only way that immigration becomes a topic of discussion in Congress appears to be a forestalling of the Republican charge to a Senate majority. While some commentators have remarked that the Republican bashing on immigration in the midterm elections may hurt them in the 2016 Presidential elections, and that this may be shortsighted strategy, they do not grasp the point that the midterm elections are the Super Bowl for both parties. Republican control of both houses of Congress means an entirely Republican agenda for the last 2 years of President Obama’s administration ensuring his lame-duck status, and that Republicans will be absolutely able to effectively block executive and judicial appointments that do not meet their approval. When asked on October 26th’s “Meet the Press” what will really matter if there are 51 Democrats as opposed to 51 Republicans, Sen. Charles Schumer (D - NY) said it was the Supreme Court – with the money currently cascading into the system and it being the way it is, if there is a vacancy and they are able to buttress it, that means that a few people will dominate the elections for decades to come. Also that it would make a huge difference on voting rights and women’s issues. With the winning of the midterm elections, the Republican Party will no longer need to compromise on issues, and it would have no fear of the present administration’s being able to put through any initiatives or appointments that it disfavors. And if President Obama puts forth an executive order placing large swaths of undocumented immigrants in a quasi-legal status as he has promised to do after the elections, the Republicans would be in a better position to pass legislation defunding or outlawing the measure or even attempt to impeach the President.

So even though many in the pro-immigration camp are disappointed and frustrated by the vacillations on action by Mr. Obama, and there is a great temptation not to vote to show that they are not to be taken for granted by the Democrats, there is a much greater harm that will happen to the pro-immigration cause if those in the battleground states do not vote on Tuesday. So those who feel frustrated and mad should just hold their noses and vote!

This article © 2014 Alan Lee, Esq.. Reprinted with permission

About The Author

Alan Lee, Esq. Alan Lee is a 30+ year practitioner of immigration law based in New York City holding an AV preeminent rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Director, registered in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, on the New York Super Lawyers list (2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-2015), and recognized as a New York Area Top Rated Lawyer. He was awarded the Sidney A. Levine prize for best legal writing at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1977 and has written extensively on immigration over the past years for Interpreter Releases, Immigration Daily, and the ethnic newspapers, World Journal, Sing Tao, Pakistan Calling, Muhasba and OCS. He has testified as an expert on immigration in civil court proceedings and was recognized by the Taiwan government in 1985 for his work protecting human rights. His article, "The Bush Temporary Worker Proposal and Comparative Pending Legislation: an Analysis" was Interpreter Releases' cover display article at the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in 2004, and his victory in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in a case of first impression nationwide, Firstland International v. INS, successfully challenged INS' policy of over 40 years of revoking approved immigrant visa petitions under a nebulous standard of proof. Its value as precedent, however, was short-lived as it was specifically targeted by the Bush Administration in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004.

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