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Why The Republicans Won't Pass Immigration Reform. By Roger Algase

Rating: 7 votes, 4.43 average.

One of the best articles I have seen about why the House Republicans are never going to pass immigration reform was posted at the beginning of this month by Joshua Holland on

See The GOP Won't Pass Immigration Reform - and It Could Prove Disastrous
(March 1).

(I tried to post a link, but it doesn't work, so, once again, I refer readers to Google if they want to read the entire article.)

Holland writes:

"But those worries [about alienating rapidly growing Asian and Latino voting groups] aren't necessarily embraced by the [GOP] rank and file. A combination of fierce gerrymandering, natural migration patterns and ideological polarization have resulted in a huge number of Republicans representing districts that are increasingly homogeneous, both ideologically and ethnically. House Republicans won't pass immigration reform, even though their party must, because many of them have little incentive to do so."

He continues:

"Racial polarization has also increased in House districts. Pollster Charlie Cook notes that between 2000 and 2010, the non-Hispanic white population fell from 69 to 64 per cent, but after redistricting on 2010, the average white share of Republican districts actually increased from 73 per cent to 75 per cent. Even that doesn't tell the whole story; an analysis by National Journal's Scott Bland found that 111 of the 233 House Republicans represent districts that are more than 80 per cent white.

Those lawmakers may worry about the party's national standing, but their first concern is getting re-elected every two years in these increasingly uniform districts. They fear primary challenges from the right. And while liberals often tout polls showing Republican support for immigration reform, there's an 'intensity gap' among the party's faithful - those opposed to reform are among the loudest voices in the room. And as Benjy Sarlin noted for the website
Talking Points Memo, many Republicans who support immigration reform hold negative views of immigrants themselves. They tend to see them as a burden on society." (Emphasis added.)

Clearly, this spells disaster ahead for the Republican party. Holland writes:

"It's a big problem for the party when Republicans express that view in public. Although relatively small in number, Asian-Americans are the fastest growing demographic and only 26 per cent of them supported Mitt Romney in the 2012 election. Behind them are Latinos, 27 per cent of whom backed Romney...Their loyalties aren't determined by immigration policy alone, but the Republican party's perceived hostility to minorities threatens to turn each into a reliably Democratic voting bloc."

So what is at the root of the Republicans' drive toward self-destruction as a party?

Holland explains:

"It's unfair to paint an entire party as a bunch of nativists, but despite the growing demographic threat, dog whistles still sound in Republican politics. Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbot calls South Texas a 'Third World country.' infamous xenophobe and former Congressman Tom Tancredo is favored to win the GOP nomination for governor of Colorado, Rep. Louis Gohmert, (R-TX) has warned of immigrants bringing 'terror babies' into the US and Rep. Steve King (R-IA)..."
["drug mule" quote follows].

Holland concludes:

"Add the voices of right wing talk show radio and other conservative media, and one can see why national GOP strategists are losing sleep; they fear turning broad swaths of the country into California."

Why is bigotry against Asian, Latino (and black - look at the provision in the Senate passed reform bill which would abolish the Africa-friendly green card Diversity lottery program) immigrants such a powerful force in one of America's two major parties? The answer is that, in large part due to the right-wing extremist bloc on the Supreme Court, America's democracy isn't working.

The Supreme Court's support for gerrymandering has turned the House from being the chamber that is closest to the American people into the one that is the least representative and the most racially polarized.

And on the Senate side, the Supreme Court's Citizens United Decision is enabling right wing billionaires to finance an attempted Republican takeover of the upper chamber in the 2014 election in what is rapidly becoming the United Kochs of America.

The failure to pass immigration reform legislation is not a product of our democracy, but a sign of its failure. This makes the voices of those who profess to have concerns about whether the president would be acting "undemocratically" by granting relief from deportation to 11 million minority immigrants ring even more hollow.

I am not referring here only to the hypocrisy of the Republicans who are gerrymandering and spending our democracy away in order - among other things - to put an end to any hope for immigration reform in the foreseeable future. I am also referring to the hypocrisy inside the White House itself, where President Obama continues to insist, against all recognized legal authority, that he has no power to expand relief from deportation through administrative action, and that he is only waiting for Republican agreement on immigration reform - which will never come about.
Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School who has been practicing business and professional immigration law for more than 30 years. His practice includes H-1B and O-1 work visas, and green cards through PERM labor certification, EB-1 extraordinary ability, and opposite sex or same sex marriage, as well as other immigration and citizenship cases. His email address is

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Updated 03-27-2014 at 07:26 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. Jack2's Avatar
    The failure to pass immigration reform legislation is not a product of our democracy, but a sign of its failure.
    I think it's the opposite. Consider that the last CIR was stopped by citizens flooding the phone lines of their elected representatives. Anti-democratic would have been if the special interests had rammed it through against the will of the people and without them even knowing what was in it, e.g., a radical increase in the immigration level. Prior to that, the party establishment of both parties (and the various lobbying interests who spend literally in the 10 digits) were cocky that passage was a slam dunk. Once citizens found out what was actually in the bill, it's approval rating sank like a stone and they made their opinions known. Democracy (what's left of it) at its finest.

    The establishment was cocky again this time. We'll see how long the people can hold off the anti-democratic forces but eventually they usually win out so be happy that they are with you on this issue. The Koch Brothers are with you. Citizens United helps the cause of open borders. Money loves loose borders.
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I sometimes have to wonder what universe Jack2 is sending his comments from.

    Roger Algase
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