Three reasons why it’s in the GOP’s interest to address and pass immigration reform

LatinaLista — If the Sunday morning appearance by Senators Schumer and Graham on NBC’s Meet the Press accomplished anything, it clarified, threats aside, as to Republican Senator Graham’s commitment to the issue:

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MR. GREGORY: …immigration reform, where you two have come together to, to seek out a path toward immigration reform; or whether it’s climate change, financial regulation and all the rest. There’s real questions about whether there has been a poisoning of the well here, Senator Graham. Your friend Senator McCain said there will be no more cooperation with Democrats in the White House this year. And this is what the New York Daily News wrote in an op-ed this week as well. “Senator Lindsey Graham, long been a thoughtful and constructive legislator. But the South Carolina Republican made a statement last week that showed why Washington is losing the public’s trust and his party in particular is losing its sense of duty.

“Graham had joined with Senator Schumer to present a well-reasoned outline for immigration reform. Then Graham threatened to walk away from his own proposal. `If the healthcare bill goes through this weekend, that will, in my view, pretty much kill any chance of immigration reform passing the Senate this year.’”

What do you say?

SEN. GRAHAM: Well, I’m just being honest. I’m going to work with Chuck Schumer to come up with legislation to control China’s manipulation of their currency. I will keep working with Chuck on immigration. But here’s the effect, immigration’s tough. You don’t have to ask anybody other than me to tell you that. It is a tough heavy lift. The president promised to pass an immigration reform bill in his first year. They’ve done almost nothing in the White, White House on immigration. We’ve been absorbed by health care. People are risk averse. If a moderate Democrat got a phone call from the president, he wants you to come down to the White House and help him with immigration now, most of them would jump out the window. That’s just the truth. I will continue to work with Chuck, but immigration is a heavy lift. We haven’t done the things necessary to bring the body together, and 16 Democrats voted against immigration reform. This idea that I would be the 60th vote on immigration, climate change could not be further from the truth. Tough sledding lies ahead because of the, the acrimony around health care. But on financial regulations we’ll get a bill. I hope it’s a good bill, not some liberal bill with a few, a few Republicans.

MR. GREGORY: Senator…

SEN. GRAHAM: I look forward to working with Chuck.

MR. GREGORY: Senator Schumer, is immigration reform dead then?

SEN. SCHUMER: I don’t think so. First, let’s look at how desperately we need it. Fifteen thousand people cross our border illegally every day. Most of them take jobs from Americans. And yet, at the same time, there are certain people we need in this economy to help us grow, and we can’t get them–engineers, doctors, farm workers. So the system is broken–it lets the wrong people in, excludes the wrong people–and so we need to fix it.

Now, Lindsey and I have worked for a year. We’ve put out a framework that goes by what we think most Americans believe. Most Americans are anti illegal immigration and pro legal immigration. And we’re real close. We’re real close.

SEN. GRAHAM: Right.

SEN. SCHUMER: We do need a second Republican to come on the bill, and Lindsey, to his credit, and he’s got a lot a courage to step forward here, I salute him, has always said we need that. But I would plead with him, if we can get that second Republican, we have business and labor ready to sign on. We have all the religious community, not just the liberals but the evangelicals. We even have Lou Dobbs and Bill O’Reilly saying positive things about our proposal. I would urge that we try to get this done…

In other words, “it’s a heavy lift” means there isn’t much political will to help Democrats on such an important issue of which the majority are Democratic supporters. The difference between immigration and the climate bill is that the climate bill is seen as helping people across party lines.

An immigration bill, while it does help the nation’s economy in ways the average person doesn’t quite get, its immediate impact helps a group that helped defeat John McCain.

So why would it be in the best interest for Republicans to sign on and work on immigration reform?

For three reasons…

The GOP’s Turn at Leaving a Legacy

Time and time again, pundits have declared that passage of the healthcare bill is the President’s victory, his legacy. If Republicans work on passing fair and just immigration reform, there’s no reason why it won’t be seen in history as the GOP’s legacy for creating policy that both addresses the current situation and lays down a workable framework for discouraging future illegal immigration.

Re-invents the Latino perception of the GOP

If Republican senators joined with their Democratic peers in honestly addressing immigration reform, without throwing up roadblocks for the sake of being difficult, it drastically alters the Latino public perception of who are the Republicans.

In the process, their willingness to collaborate elevates their profile in a positive light. Since actions speak louder than words and involvement with reforming immigration takes less effort than stumping for Latino votes on a campaign trail, it would be an easier way to show Latino voters their sincerity in addressing issues that matter to Latino voters.

On the other hand, if immigration were to fail due to Republican’s unwillingness to collaborate, the blame would be laid entirely at the feet of Republicans and remembered at the polls. In fact, such inaction on the part of the GOP would be enough to re-energize a voting bloc that has gotten complacent with their civic duty since turning the electoral tide in favor of Obama.

The GOP’s refusal to take up immigration reform won’t be seen by the Latino community as something between the Obama administration and Republicans but it will be seen as a personal affront to the Latino community which, in turn, would make things uneasy for those Latinos who count the GOP as their party of choice.

Begins the Healing Process

If Republicans put aside their anger over the healthcare bill and accepted the partnership now being offered to them to reform immigration, it would set a national example of cooperation — something sorely needed in our country in these times.

Two politically opposing sides coming together for such a cause is the only way to start mending the widening rift that has set in among the American public. It’s a rift that is leading to an increase in divisiveness, incivility and intolerance and has the potential to rip the cohesive fabric of American society

Is it not the patriotic duty of every political officeholder to keep this country together as stewards of this nation’s democracy as they shepard the democratic process?

Is it not the moral obligation of every political officeholder to shield this nation from those forces that would weaken it?

Is it not time for Republicans and Democrats to come together in the name of the United States of America?

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8 Comments

  1. Emma said:

    The Latino community has to start playing hardball. The Democrats should know that the Latino vote cannot be taken for granted. Inaction or failure by the Obama administration on immigration reform in 2010, will be punished at the polls in November and beyond.

  2. Aaron said:

    Eight reasons why the Republicans should reject amnesty:
    1. It will not stop illegal immigration because there will always be illicit border crossers who will not respect US law. It will only encourage a new wave of illegal immigrants to cross the border. Like the last amnesty, this one will bring fraudulent claims from those who are not covered by any congressionally set date.
    2. It would add millions of additional working poor to the already swollen welfare rolls as these people eventually qualify for benefits.
    3. It will add to the millions of citizens eligible for government subsidized obamacare.
    4. It would increase competition for already hard pressed unemployed citizens.
    5. It will add to the half of all citizens who do not make a net contribution to our tax base. This includes those who receive earned income tax credits and all of their IRS tax contributions refunded.
    6. It’s contrary to our national goal of promoting an educated populace, effectively importing illiteracy, as most illegal immigrants from south of our border have less than a high school education. They will perpetually be an economic underclass being handicapped from upward mobility.
    8. This is a center right country and that didn’t change after voting George Bush for two terms. Republicans, along with may Democrats will be very reluctant to vote for amnesty after the ordeal of the obamacare fiasco.

  3. need4trth said:

    The conversation on the Republican side is more than likely disingenuous. I haven’t seen the sincerity of GOP leadership in any conversation about immigration reform. Emma is correct in saying that the Deomcratic leadership and President Obama can’t take the Latino vote for granted. Immigration is a very contentious conversation to have in areas of the country where there are strong sentiments against illegal immigration. Rural areas which tend to be Republican strongholds. The GOP continue to make the mistake of coddling racist in their party and feeding into their fears. If you thought the fight over HCR was insane, wait until the Obama administration and the Democratic Leadership wade into these waters. Yet it is a fight I will support the administration and my Latino Community in gladly. The Democrats are fearful but they will address this issue soon.

  4. Angela Shelton said:

    I cannot believe my eyes and ears! I cannot believe the Democrats will change the Hispanic people into victims of America the way they have convinced African-Americans that they are NOTHING but victims and the Democrats are their savior. I am Black and I am so praying that the Hispanic community will not fall into the trap of dependency on the American government and Liberalism. Once there were many, many Black churches that stood against abortion, same sex marriage, under-age children receiving birth control. Black people used to have morals, but now they are just democrats that just cry RACISM at every turn, just to give power to the most immoral group of people that ever had power. Hispanic leaders, they are after your communities next and then you’ll become like the Black people – hard to find one that doesn’t vote Democrat and hard to find a Hispanic that won’t believe Conservatives aren’t racist. Then the libs will have you giving them power to do things your conscience never agreed with. After that your children will never be able to focus on character only the race of a person just like the Blacks and libs. I know about this, I live in a nightmare of my family supporting things only a generation ago they would be willing to fight against. Now they just cry racism ALL THE TIME. What’s more sad is they have been totally blinded and they seem to like the darkness.

  5. cookie said:

    “The Latino community has to start playing hardball. The Democrats should know that the Latino vote cannot be taken for granted. Inaction or failure by the Obama administration on immigration reform in 2010, will be punished at the polls in November and beyond.
    Woo, I’ll bet the Dems will be shaking in their shoes with that idle threat. Only 10 million Hispanics voted in the presidential election and we have over 300 million Americans in this country.
    So if Hispanics don’t get what they want they will resort to blackmail? Kind of like a mouse threatening a moose isn’t it? Giving amnesty to 12-20 million illegals is not in the best interests of this country but Hispanics don’t care about that just as long as they get to increase their numbers in this country?

  6. Hartford Immigration Lawyers said:

    There’s been no real movement on immigration and ICE continues its unfair and haphazard deportation and detainment policies. I think President Obama is genuinely interested in immigration reform, but put it on the back burner while focusing on health care reform. Now that he and the Democrats have realized that bipartisanship attempts are useless and that they can actually pass legislation over Republican objection, let’s step up the pressure for immigration reform. My guess is Obama will wait until the November elections before engaging in this controversial initiative, and this Hartford, CT immigration attorney hopes that Obama and the Democrats will then move quickly to alleviate the unfairness and suffering inherent in the current immigration and naturalization system.

  7. Katie said:

    At this time our country is financially unable to accept any more people. This act would only further burden our economy.
    We need a bill that sends those here illegally home.
    We need to stop giving them free healthcare when it should be the taxpayers who recieve free healthcare then they’d have more money to get the economy back on track. It is time our government start working for the American people. Granted Obama said he’d work on this issue but the promises he made to the Amnerican people need to be addressed first. We need to get our house in order before accepting those who have chosen to thumb their noses at our laws. If they truly want to be here they need to come in the front door and they will have the respect of our citizens. Why don’t they understand this? If they sneak in or overstay their visa they are breaking the law and when they get caught they get so upset abd cry “racist” or what ever they are using that day to try to justify they have reason to break our laws when they only have themselves to blame for their fate. It is their fault if they choose to leave their family behind when they get sent home. They must start accepting responsibility for their actions. They surely know they are doing wrong when they choose to climb a fence, hide in a vehicle stacked on top of each other or go through an underground tunnel to get here. The citizens here just want our laws to be respected and enforced.

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