Immigration has taken a back seat to Tea Party politics. What has happened to the Immigration issue? According to ThinkProgress, as of March 2012, there are over 11.7 million undocumented immigrants. In the face of losing the Latino vote, shouldn’t Republicans be talking about Immigration Reform?
A Pew Research Study of Hispanic Trends showed that “immigrants from Mexico comprised 52 percent of the total undocumented population, or 6.05 million individuals.” Most immigrants live in just six states: California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas. These states represent 80 percent of all undocumented immigrants. Texas has the largest number of immigrants, and was the only state to see an increase in its undocumented population between 2007 and 2011.
The Tea Party crazies are putting up a huge smoke screen by attacking “Obamacare.” Their intention is to let important issues like immigration reform and jobs die behind this wall of lies. One could argue that using “Obamacare” as an excuse for not raising the debt ceiling, has proven to be a great tool to end the debate on immigration reform. If we take a good look at the outcome of the extortion tactics Senator Cruz and his Cronies have been using lately, we can see that it has worked. Immigration reform seems to be dead in the water.
Congress, however, has not completely forgotten about the undocumented immigrant. Surprisingly, Republicans, like Grover Norquist, are proposing that conservatives “[get] past this sense [of being] anti-immigrant.” PolicyMic reports that Norquist told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that “ People [immigrants] are an asset, they’re not a liability.” Norquist has drastically reversed his opinion on immigration.
Romney’s biggest backer, the founder of his most prominent Super PAC, Charlie Spies, has founded a new PAC, Republicans for Immigration Reform. According to PolicyMic, “Another such group, Partnership for a New American Economy, has seen a great influx of conservative businessmen including independent and GOP members.” The latter group is backed by “the likes of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, the head of Marriott International hotel company Bill Marriott Jr., and the CEO of Overstock.com Jonathan Johnson, both of whom are Republicans.”
With the government shut-down overshadowing any talk of immigration reform, Nancy Pelosi has been considering introducing a bill herself. According to Fox News Latino, House Minority Leader Pelosi would like to pass a bill “that would be a variation of a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform measure that the Democrat-controlled Senate passed in June.”
Pelosi’s Democrat colleague Senator Schumer, of New York, was quoted as saying, “Leader Pelosi is proposing something closer to her ideal bill, and her intention is to keep the House moving forward, which is a good thing.” Politico states, “The plan would be to publicly release the bill timed to the Oct. 5 National Day of Action…,” a day meant to mobilize grassroots support.
Whether Nancy Pelosi or Republicans on the side of immigration reform actually get something done is questionable. Ted Cruz’s cronies continue to spread lies about “Obamacare”and will not stop until their shut-down succeeds. Immigration reform must move forward and be allowed to come up in the house for a vote. Congress must act on this issue. Does Speaker Boehner want to continue to “sweep” an issue involving 11.7 million people under the rug?
Richard Andrew is a guest blogger for Ring of Fire.