Immigration Reform: Republicans Want It, But Do Democrats?
As Congress debated immigration reform, some pundits suggested Republicans need immigration reform, while Democrats only want it.
It is true that Republicans need immigration reform. Working on such proposals is good economic policy and allows Republicans to meet with more minority communities. It opens the door to discuss Republican values, policy agenda, and important issues facing individuals and families across the country.
However, saying that Democrats want immigration reform is questionable.
In 2007 Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and then-Senator Obama were instrumental in killing the bipartisan immigration bill.
In 2009 and 2010 many minority communities expected President Obama to introduce a comprehensive immigration reform package, given that Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Democrats controlled Congress during that period.
After the President failed to act on his campaign promise – make immigration reform his “top priority” during the first year of his term – immigration reform advocates went to the streets. Tens of thousands rallied in Washington chanting “sí se puede,” demanding President Obama take action on comprehensive reform. But the plea fell on deaf ears. The president ignored their cries for reform and chose to prioritize a host of other issues: Obamacare, tax hikes, business regulations, and stimulus spending.
He left advocates and minority groups frustrated and without an explanation.
Now that Senate Republicans have led and negotiated an immigration reform bill out of the Senate, President Obama is urging for the speedy passage of the bill. He is making the economic case for immigration reform; he notes, correctly, that fixing the immigration system will reduce the deficit and strengthen the middle class. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said the Senate’s bill will save taxpayers $197 billion over 10 years and billions more over 20 years.