Immigration Reform - The New Boogeyman for the Republican Party

Published: Apr 29, 2014 19:11pm EDT
By Lance Rinker, Managing Editor for Konsume Politics

Please Note: This article was updated Apr 29, 2014 @ 07:11pm EDT

 

“We get elected to solve problems, and it’s remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don’t want to. . . . They’ll take the path of least resistance.”

  • House Speaker John Boehner (R – OH)

The government hasn’t seriously reformed immigration policies since the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, which addressed border enforcement and the use of social programs by illegal immigrants. The only real tweak to the country’s stance on immigration, illegal or otherwise, was after the 9/11 attacks when the Homeland Security Act of 2002 created the Department of Homeland Security.

The DHS took over a large portion of the responsibilities when it came to border enforcement and the overall handling of illegal immigrants. That aside, the United States is still operating under immigration policies created in the 1960s with some level of expectation that it should be adequate for a 21st century America.

Reforming immigration policy to be more in-line with the changing demographics with our nation, as well as the shifting values, would be a welcome accomplishment for many Americans and even more so for those legalized citizens with friends and family that came to the country illegally and are looking for a clearer path to citizenship – one that doesn’t involve going back to their country of origin and getting in the back of the line so-to-speak.

While republican lawmakers openly blame President Barack Obama for the reason immigration reform hasn’t happened yet, which is an interesting strategy considering House Speaker John Boehner (R – OH) is the one that could force a vote on immigration reform, but perhaps there’s an underlying issue for many republicans when it comes to passing immigration reform legislation.

Republicans have a serious demographic issue on their hands when it comes to reaching out to and securing the vote of non-white voting citizens. According to a national exit poll put together by Jon Cohen of the Washington Post, just 11 percent of non-white voters consider themselves Republicans but 44 percent of non-white voters consider themselves democrats. Part of that disconnect between the Republican Party and minority groups in America is that the Republican Party has not done much to endear themselves to minorities.

 

Republican lawmakers have recently, over the last five years, begun ramping up serious efforts to suppress minority voters, including women, because they realize that the majority of minorities and women do no usually vote for a republican candidate at the polls. Turn on the news any day of the week and you can typically find a story that covers another republican lawmaker doing something to keep minority voting to a minimum.

Whether that is to make it more difficult for them to cast a ballot, obtain voter registration documents, or require more strict forms of photo identification doesn’t matter when the end-goal is to simply make it more difficult under the guise of preventing voter fraud. States such as Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee, and the list goes on and on, all of which are considered ‘red states’, have passed tough measures to suppress the minority vote.

What’s been the cause of one state after another rushing to pass legislation to suppress minority voters with stricter standards to be eligible to vote? Primarily it is a result of larger numbers of minority voters going to the polls. Why that matters is because minorities are less likely to vote for republican candidates then white voters are and the coalition of the republican base continues to shrink year over year.

Take this map, provided by the U.S. Census Bureau which clearly shows states that are predominantly ‘red’ could be seeing a shift in political direction very soon. That’s something that is worrisome to many republican lawmakers, current candidates, and future candidates because they have yet to adjust their own personal and political views in regards to how they treat persons of color (minorities).

As long as the minority population continues to grow, and become a majority, in states that have been reliably conservative when it comes to statewide elections, as well as Presidential elections, then those states could shift to becoming friendlier to democratic candidates – something that obviously scares the hell out of the Republican Party.

The new boogey man for the Republican Party isn’t the Affordable Care Act, abortion, schools teaching evolution over intelligent design, or even lifting the lower and working classes up out of poverty. No. The new boogey man for the Republican Party is immigration reform and the concern that millions of newly minted minority voters will vote them out of power. 


 

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Lance Rinker
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