Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Immigration Reform Will Benefit Republican Party

Are the stars aligned to pass immigration reform through Congress and have it signed by the President? If it passes, that will be the first sign Washington D.C. is capable of acting when both parties decide fixing a problem is in their long-term interest.

It will be a boon for the poorly regarded D.C. establishment, and especially a significant benefit to Republicans, who have suffered with the image of being extreme (Pew 2013) or uncompromising (Gallup 2013).

In a new national poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Ciruli Associates, voters in both parties made clear they thought immigration reform was a priority and that the solution should be long-term and bipartisan.

Of course, both parties believe border security is a condition precedent. All but a handful of Republicans, in particular, recognize there won’t be deportation, and hence, whatever new status is conferred on 11 million illegal immigrants, it is the conditions that are important to focus on.

Paying taxes, background checks with no criminal history, learning English and civics, and significant waiting periods are a part of the conditions that bring both a majority of Democrats and Republicans to the table.

The three key elements of the legislation are now being settled in the minds of party leaders:
  • Border must be secured. Fortunately, considerable progress has been made and the slack economy has lowered cross-border illegal attempts. The legislation will have some type of border trigger.
  • An effective market-driven guest worker program is essential or, as the economy improves, illegal crossings will begin again.  The program must have conditions, such as security clearance and an identified job.
  • There must be a legal status for the 11 million illegal citizens already here. Conditions are also the key, along with a no advantage over people who apply legally for citizenship.
Republicans want their party to lead on the issue. One reason Marco Rubio is maintaining support among his party members is that Republicans are not interested in President Obama or Democrats dominating the discussion and putting them on the defensive. Rubio will have to slow walk the process to ensure his colleagues have some input, but ultimately this legislation is in the long-term best interest of the party and will contribute to its national performance.

See:  Presentation of Key Findings from a National Survey on Immigration

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