Thursday, April 19, 2012

Changing Demographics: Can the Latino Vote Compel Congress to End Immigration Reform Deadlock?

The 2010 republican congressional elections and the recent 2012 republican primaries were dominated by and older, whiter electorate (I know, you’re shocked). This group was credited for being a major reason why the republicans were able to win in 2010. Unfortunately, given the large amount of younger, more diverse voters in presidential elections, republicans will need to change their strategy to be successful in November. This changing strategy may be just what the country needs to find common ground on immigration reform, one of the most contentious, gridlocked issues in Congress.

This week, the possible vice presidential pick Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), unveiled plans for a republican alternative to the DREAM Act. The republican version would allow many young, undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States legally. Undocumented students would be put on a put on a path to legal status in exchange for college attendance or military service. While the law does not include a direct path to citizenship, residents who obtain legal status would still be able to apply for citizenship.

Democrats though, are calling the measures “Dream Act Lite” and are less likely to vote for a bill that does not include a direct path to citizenship (read: more democratic voters). In addition, the bill would put a potential Republican vice presidential nominee in a more favorable position with Latino voters, a crucial interest group for the Democratic Party.

But if the GOP is able to gain substantial backing from Latino community leaders then democrats may be forced to vote in favor of the bill, or risk alienating key voters in November. We have had several speakers claim that these changing demographics would be an important factor in alleviating gridlock, the Republican DREAM Act could be the litmus test needed to test this theory. 

1 comment:

  1. I think that your perspective on this issue is dead on. The importance of the Latino vote to the republican party cannot be understated. As a Floridian, I have seen the impact that Latino voters can have on major elections. I believe, that the “Dream Act Lite” is a good republican alternative to the dream act. I think this may become a situation where the legislation is broken up and passed in pieces and democrats may actually find that passing this alternative plan could be the first step in major immigration reform.