ELECTION 2016 PREVIEW: IMMIGRATION
Many are now wondering how big of a role the issue of immigration will play in the 2016 Election. USA Today calls immigration the dominant domestic policy issue of the forthcoming 2016 campaign trail. During the 2016 election, American voters may be evaluating the candidates with a close eye, looking upon their individual track records in immigration policy, their voting and support in past immigration legislation, and most importantly at their achievements in this area.
So far, the Democratic Party has probably been the more active proponent in the advocating of rights for undocumented persons, attempting to create pathways to citizenship, and an environment of amnesty in which illegal immigrants would avoid facing harsh penalties, as well as the deportation that causes the separation of families; while many Republicans approach the issue more so in terms of economic benefit and border security. It seems reasonable to assume that the Latino community would be those most affected by the implementation of any new immigration policies and reforms. Which party then would be the best choice for those with immigration concerns within the Latino community? Persons who may have a familial relationship to those who cannot fully integrate within the functional systems of this country and who perhaps are perpetually in danger of being deported - if so much could be said of either party?
IMMIGRATION POLITICOS. WHO WILL BE THE PRESIDENTIAL PLAYERS IN 2016?
Hilary Clinton democratic front-runner, has very quickly taken a position on immigration. She will be supporting the creation of pathways to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States. She has also alluded to the possibility of policies in the future that would prevent millions of illegal immigrants from being deported. Jeb Bush has according to CNN, taken up a moderate stance on immigration policies, and favors policies that would allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country. This is in direct opposition to the majority of the Republican Party. His wife, Mrs. Jeb Bush, happens to be a Mexican born immigrant, and the couple currently resides in Miami, Florida, a city with a 66% Latino population according to the 2014, U.S. Census. However, Bush has stated that he will repeal any unilateral actions made by President Obama.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on the other hand, supported President Obama in his decision to take executive action to keep Latino families together, stating that the immigration system was broken. Sanders voted for immigration reform in 2013, however back in 2007, he voted against immigration reform due to his concerns about native workers. Rick Perry deployed troops to the border during his term as Governor of Texas, which was seen by many to be a military response to a humanitarian crisis. In 2001, Perry signed the Texas Dream Act, which was the first measure in Texas to provide in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants, but then later vetoed a bill that would have authorized illegal persons to obtain drivers licenses. Democrat Martin O'Malley takes an interest in immigration concerns especially as it benefits economic growth. As Governor of Maryland, O'Malley signed into law a measure authorizing illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. During 2014, when extremely large numbers of Central American women and children were attempting to seek refuge from abysmal conditions in their homeland, O’Malley, according to the American Immigration Council, expressed his concern to the National Governors Association, the urgency of helping these children in need being sent away from the U.S., to face suffering and death at home. Mark Rubio has earned a certain degree of infamy for changing his position on immigration issues. He is a Latino Republican presidential candidate who has reportedly alienated advocates on both sides of the issue. Rubio was an extremely visible supporter of the Border Security Economic Opportunity & Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, the vanquished bipartisan immigration bill that would have created a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal residents, and would have at the same time, strengthened security along the border. Lincoln Chafee is a Democratic presidential candidate -phenomenon, who once served as a U.S. Senator for the Republican Party. Like most Democrats, Chafee supports pathways to citizenship as well as reinforced border security. He has a record dating back to the 1980’s Regan administration in which he advocated for the support of undocumented families and immigration reform. Carly Fiorina is a Republican presidential candidate who has accused Hilary Clinton of being inconsistent on immigration issues. Fiorina is outspoken in her beliefs that citizenship should be bestowed on those who attempt to obtain citizenship legally and properly, citing the 16 different visa programs currently available in the U.S. She has said that securing the border would be her first priority in fixing the immigration system, stating in a quote reported by Breitbart News that, "The border has not been secured for a very long time."
ORGANIZATIONS SEEKING IMMIGRATION REFORM
The National Immigration Forum headquartered in Washington D.C., is well known as a powerful advocate of immigration issues having to do with integration, citizenship, workforce needs, and borders that actively works with politicians, law enforcement, and spiritual organizations, to protect the rights of immigrants. National Immigration Forum Executive Director Ali Noorani, stated in the press after the 2014, Southern Border bill failed to pass, that the bills being considered by congress are flawed and that an urgent bipartisan solution was needed to help the children fleeing from violent environments.
Now that Republicans represent the majority in the House of Representatives, many of its Latino constituents are concerned about any possibility of reform on the part of the Republican Party. Many Republicans in congress feel that the immigration laws currently in place are not being enforced, and that any new legislation would encounter a similar fate. Yahoo! News has recently reported that the pressure is now off of the GOP to make reforms, because the US Customs and Border Protection has announced this week that the number of women and unattended children attempting to enter the U.S. from Mexico, has been reduced by half. Republicans for Immigration Reform is an organization that provides support to candidates seeking to reform immigration. This group advocates for the Rule of Law as well as enhanced border security, as common sense solutions. The Department of Homeland Security has now stated that this type of approach is very effective, citing tougher enforcement as the reason that border traffic from Mexico has been reduced, as now Central Americans make up the largest percentage of illegals apprehended. It looks like GOP leaders have finally achieved the long awaited border security that they have always desired.