The media has been heavily following the efforts of immigrant activist groups as they try to convince their local lawmakers to pass immigration reform upon returning to office after their recess. However, a new study shows that the fate of immigration reform does not rely so much on the Republican controlled house, but rather the inertia of the bill. Opposition to the bill by a few lawmakers will persist, but there is a better chance of passing legislation when everyone is focusing on the topic at hand.
Immigration reform supporters have held large scale rallies in support of the cause while opponents have held fewer and smaller events in an attempt to pressure lawmakers. “If we reward people for breaking the law, we get more law-breakers. They got here on their own, and if the opportunities are not here – if we shut down the jobs magnet, if we secure the border – then a lot of people will find a way back to their home country,” said Republican Congressman Steve King. But despite controversial comments from certain lawmakers like King, others recognize that if immigration reform fails to pass, Republicans will get the blame from America’s fastest-growing segment: Hispanics. “If they alienate this voting bloc, they are going to have a coalition that will continually vote against them, and they will be in big trouble,” said Republican strategist John Feehery.
The voting trend among Hispanic voters tends to lean towards the Democratic Party in recent years mainly because of immigration reform. Two other key issues important to immigrant voters are education and economic opportunity. According to Feehery, he does not believe immigration reform will pass this year. “What people vote for, ultimately, is their pocketbooks. And I think that as Hispanic voters become more prosperous and are introduced more to the mainstream of American society, they will start voting their pocketbooks [in their economic interests] and they will look at Republicans.” House Speaker John Boehner said he understands that immigration reform is indeed needed but has ruled out voting for a bill that contains a path to citizenship for now.
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