Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy
The Changing Narrative on Immigration Reform
Over and over again since the 2012 election, the media and punditocracy have been quick to pronounce immigration reform dead every time it has appeared that there have been disagreements between major players - Democrat v. Republican, Senate v. House, labor v. union, etc. But the assumption that the politics of immigration reform haven't changed and parties can retreat to their traditional inaction is simply wrong.
First, as we know, the Hispanic electorate has reached a critical mass with the power to change the outcome of presidential and statewide elections. That power is starting to affect House races as well, though gerrymandering is slowing that process down.
Second, public opinion polling has now shown for several years that the only people who are against the kind of reform Congress is considering is a fringe element in society that used to project a much louder voice than it is now able to do.
Third, executive action has changed the reality on the ground. Nearly half a million young people have received Deferred Action (DACA) benefits over the last year and there has not been much of an outcry by the public. The President has just announced that he'll make it easier for parents of DACA recipients to avoid deportation. And I'm guessing there will also be virtually no reaction by the public.
And fourth, pro-immigration advocates have been extremely effective in getting their voices heard this year. In prior reform efforts, the opposite was true.
And now as we soon head back from the recess we're hearing renewed optimism about reforming still having a decent chance at passage. But reform was never in as much trouble as many have said. It's just that every hiccup or difficulty in negotiation has been overblown to mean that the deal is dead.