Society Magazine

Immigration Reform Blurs American Political Party Lines

Posted on the 05 April 2013 by Azharnadeem

america1The process of immigration reform has been a messy political debate with a number of issues. Deciding what to do about the 11 million undocumented workers in America has created an atmosphere of competing interests and changing lines that make it difficult to determine who will come out as the political “winner” and political “loser” if a bill finally passes.

The Democrats

The Democrats have been vocal proponents of immigration reform legislation, not only for bringing undocumented workers out of the shadows of the society and economy, but also to curry favor with the burgeoning Hispanic vote. Within their own ranks, Democrats have had to overcome the opposition of labor groups who worry about wage reductions and competition for jobs if a guest worker program is part of the bill. Other groups have concerns about crime and drugs flowing into the country if suitable background checks are not an integral part of the reform package.

The Republicans

Many members of the Republican Party have had to be dragged unwillingly to the table on the issue of immigration reform. Many members of the Tea Party contingent of the Republican Party stand firmly against giving legitimate status to people who have committed an illegal act to get into the country. However, the problem of children under the age of 18 who were brought into the country through no fault of their own presents a separate problem for these anti-immigration reformers. These children have grown up in the American culture and often have no memory or ties to the land of their parents. They are American in all but paperwork. Denying them a reasonable path to citizenship strikes many Americans as severely lacking in compassion and understanding of their predicament. Some Republicans have recognized the political benefit in finding a way to integrate these children of immigrants into plans for reform.

The Special Interests

States with strong Hispanic influence are generally in support of the bill. However, these same states often have a strong Republican influence that causes a great deal of conflict and tension on the issue. In addition, some American citizens must deal with legal cases, such as those handled by the Shulman Law Group to try to prevent the separation of families through deportation. The unions have viewed the influx of undocumented workers as a problem for construction workers and others who have depended on Big Labor to protect their interests. Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce deals with the need for these workers in a variety of different industries. All these issues have begun to come together to force the need for reform.

The Political Players

Who will ultimately benefit from the public debate on immigration reform is less clear. Republican candidates like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida has begun to take a public stand in favor of immigration reform. It is believed his position will ultimately help him on the national stage. President Obama’s strong support of immigration reform should give him additional credibility in the polls, but his status as a lame-duck president may not translate to more support for the Democratic Party in the future.

Image Credit: AZRainman

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