The Politics of Immigration Reform

La Opinion Highlights Disillusionment With Administration on Immigration

La Opinion Highlights Disillusionment With Administration on Immigration

Implementation of the new deportation guidelines has been far narrower than many hoped.


Comprehensive immigration reform is not only smart policy, it’s also smart politics. In fact, the majority of American people want reform because they know that the current system, which is comprised mainly of broken policies and wedge politics, is just not working. Here, you will find resources to navigate the lively politics of immigration reform.

Conventional wisdom holds that voters, especially Republican voters, are relentlessly hardline when it comes to immigration policy and reform. Polls that present false choices over immigration—asking whether the government should focus on enforcing immigration laws OR legalizing undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria—only serve to confirm that flawed analysis. However, more sophisticated surveys conducted by a number of reputable organizations make it clear that Americans’ views on immigration are far more nuanced than politicians seem to understand.

Conventional wisdom has held that immigration is less an issue for Latino voters in Florida than in other states. While that may be true in a Republican primary, demographic realities make it less and less true in a general election, where Cuban voters make up only 5% of the electorate. In the general election, anti-immigrant positioning will come back to haunt the Republican nominee, not only in Florida but other swing states.

For years, anti-immigrant activists have scared Republican officials into thinking that GOP voters are rabidly anti-immigrant and oppose any candidate who supports common sense reform. The recent ascent of Newt Gingrich, who has weathered attacks from enforcement-only candidate Mitt Romney over his immigration position, demonstrates conclusively that this line of thinking is wrong.

By consistently strong majorities, Americans support comprehensive immigration reform. In 2009 as in previous years, voters want the President and Congress to advance a solution that legalizes the undocumented workforce, requires them to pay taxes, levels the playing field for workers and employers, and restores the rule of law. The same was true in the run-up to the 2008 elections, when swing voters chose candidates who offered practical solutions to the broken immigration system over those who offered just empty rhetoric. Following is a snapshot of recent opinion polls on immigration reform.

This new report from America's Voice examines—and demolishes—Smith’s claim that Republicans can maintain a hard-line on immigration reform and still court the Latino vote by running Latino candidates. The report highlights several key findings with major implications for Republican strategists and the 2012 cycle.

This backgrounder on constitutional citizenship reveals that recent attempts to deny citizenship to babies is unconstitutional and wrong, leading to millions of dollars lost in litigation, and viewed by the fastest growing voting demographic -- Latinos -- as an attack on their community. Moreover, revoking the 14th amendment is not a solution for fixing our broken immigration system.

Leaders of the Subcommittee, Reps. Lamar Smith, Elton Gallegly, and Steve King, are professing profound concern for people of color and American workers. But their voting records tell an entirely different story, and America’s Voice Education Fund (AVEF) is exposing the rank hypocrisy behind their strategy.

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