The Hill reports that President Biden's internal polling shows that there is increasing support among the American public for immigration reform, including legalization for many of the estimated 11 million immigrants who are currently in the US without legal authorization.

At the same time, Attorney General Merrick Garland and DHS chief Alejandro Mayorkas have warned Congress that the white supremacist movement is the biggest threat to American democracy today.

These two May 12 news items are not by any means unrelated. Despite misleading attempts by Republican politicians to present an influx at the Mexican border consisting in large part of peaceful, legitimate Central American asylum seekers and unaccompanied young children as an immigration "Crisis", the need for immigration reform, including not only legalization and more rapid progress in rolling back the Trump/Miler whites supremacist assault on legal immigration, but also eliminating long standing bias and injustices from the immigration system, is far more urgent.

But Congressional Republicans remain firmly opposed to immigration reform, meaning that there is almost no chance that any immigration reform bill will pass the Senate unless the filibuster rules are changed, which is quite unlikely. Why are the Republicans so opposed? It is not because of the so=called "Surge" of immigrants at the Mexican border.

Former Virginia Congressman Denver Riggleman explains the real reason in an April 21 opinion piece in The Hill as follows:

"It's easy to see why the Republicans are reluctant to side with Democrats on immigration. The GOP remains spellbound by the extremist rhetoric that defined the Trump presidency. Republican elected officials think their best chance of re-election is tied to the Trump legacy of an anti-immigration hard line that rejects citizenship for undocumented immigrants and focuses on restricting, rather than streamlining, our immigration process."

But what Riggleman accurately calls the GOP's "losing battle" against immigration did not begin with Donald Trump. For the past 30 years or more, the Republicans have been promoting legislation which would drastically reduce the number of brown and black immigrants who are allowed to enter or stay in the US legally. The most recent proposal was the 2017 RAISE Act, which was introduced in the Senate by Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and David Perdue (R-Georgia), who was defeated for re-election in this past January's runoff election.

The RAISE Act, which was enthusiastically supported by Trump, would have replaced our current legal immigration system with a "point system" that was heavily skewed in favor of European immigrants and against immigrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The RAISE Act wold also have abolished most family-based immigration except for "immediate relatives" such as the spouses or minor children of US citizens. Family based immigration, which Trump attacked as "horrible" has been one of the major deriving forces of legal immigration to the US over the past fifty years.

The RAISE Act would also have abolished the "Diversity" green card lottery entirely. This visa has been a major source of legal immigration from Africa and other nonwhite parts of the world.

To be continued in Part 3 of this 3-part series.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law