The Bush Administration was distracted by a focus on garden variety immigration law violators rather than unscrupulous employers and dangerous criminals. The Obama Administration has a chance to redirect priorities toward the truly bad actors.
Voters strongly support comprehensive immigration reform and expect action from the next Congress and President. Latino and immigrant voters see comprehensive reform as a defining issue, and their vote made a difference in the Presidential, House, and Senate races.
The illegal immigration wedge strategy—where mainly Republican candidates ran attack ads against Democrats—was a loser. Despite spending significantly on enforcement-only immigration ads, most candidates airing them lost.
Snapshots of competitive House and Senate races in 2008 where the Republican candidate tried to use illegal immigration as a wedge issue against a Democratic challenger. Based on our review, 20 of 22 winners advocated immigration policies beyond enforcement-only.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been the target of 2,700 lawsuits, the subject of studies showing he targets Latinos in enforcement sweeps, and the object of calls from elected officials across the State for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into his immigration crackdowns.
Unprecedented numbers of immigrants are becoming citizens and registering to vote and the stakes—for candidates and voters—could not be higher. Analysis of current data on Latino and immigrant voters shows that this group is growing, mobilized, and passionately supportive of comprehensive immigration reform.