Conventional wisdom holds that voters, especially Republican voters, are relentlessly hardline when it comes to immigration policy and reform. Polls that present false choices over immigration—asking whether the government should focus on enforcing immigration laws OR legalizing undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria—only serve to confirm that flawed analysis.
America’s Voice Research on Immigration Reform
Florida’s Latino community has long been a powerful force in state politics, constituting 13% of registered voters. Every four years they are a force in national elections as well, and the Latino vote is a huge factor in Florida’s “swing state” status.
As Republicans continue to embrace hard-right positions on immigration, the Party is distancing itself not only from the legacy of Ronald Reagan and other past Republican leaders, but also from Latino voters in numerous states that are shaping up to be key 2012 battlegrounds.
The Obama Administration has recently announced that it will start allowing spouses and children of U.S. citizens, who are eligible for legal status, to apply for family unity waivers in the United States.
The U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez is the only one in Mexico that can process and issue certain types of immigrant visas--including those for spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens. But violence in Ciudad Juarez, and other towns, has exploded in the last decade, and has accelerated since 2008 as Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexican drug cartels.
For years, anti-immigrant activists have scared Republican officials into thinking that GOP voters are rabidly anti-immigrant and oppose any candidate who supports common sense reform. The recent ascent of Newt Gingrich, who has weathered attacks from enforcement-only candidate Mitt Romney over his immigration position, demonstrates conclusively that this line of thinking is wrong.
Over the course of a single year, Russell Pearce fell from secure incumbency to resounding defeat. Jerry Lewis beat incumbent State Senator Russell Pearce soundly in the first-ever recall election of a state politician in Arizona history, getting 53.4% of the vote to Pearce’s 45.4%. Pearce had handily won his last 2 elections: defeating one challenger in 2008 and two in 2010, and winning 56% of the vote each time. As late as May 2011, Pearce bragged: “My constituency knows me, my district knows me — that’s why I have a 16-0 record with wins in my district.”
A number of prominent Republicans have long been in favor of comprehensive immigration reform. See what they've had to say about the issue.