The end of the year means a turnover of House control from Democratic to Republican and, with it, Congress’ approach to immigration.
Such a hardened approach — and the rhetoric certain to accompany it — should resonate with the GOP faithful who helped swing the House in Republicans’ favor. But it also could further hurt the GOP in its endeavor to grab a large enough share of the growing Latino vote to win the White House and the Senate majority in 2012.
Legislation to test interpretations of the 14th Amendment as granting citizenship to children of illegal immigrants will emerge early next session. That is likely to be followed by attempts to force employers to use a still-developing web system, dubbed E-Verify, to check that all of their employees are in the U.S. legally.
There could be proposed curbs on federal spending in cities that don’t do enough to identify people who are in the country illegally and attempts to reduce the numbers of legal immigrants. Democrats ended the year failing for a second time to win passage of the Dream Act, which would have given hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants a chance at legal status.
House Republicans will try to fill the immigration reform vacuum left by Democrats with legislation designed to send illegal immigrants packing and deter others from trying to come to the U.S.
The president has taken heavy hits in Spanish-language and ethnic media for failing to keep his promise to address immigration promptly and taking it off the agenda last summer. His administration’s continued deportations of immigrants — a record 393,000 in the 2010 fiscal year — have also made tenuous his relationship with Hispanic voters.
But more controversial measures such as attempts to deny citizenship to children of people who are in the U.S. without permission could be tempered by GOP leaders aware of the need to curry more favor with Hispanic voters.
What are your thoughts on this particular issue?
I think the main problem with this issue is that it is a backdoor method of gaining entry into the country. If we allow it to prevail then we are encouraging it to continue.
Illegal immigration is a problem that extends beyond the Hispanic population. I think it is due time that we address the illegal immigrants from other foreign countries as there are many of them!