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Immigration Reform “Office Hours”

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Latino Pollster, Latino Leader and Immigration Advocate Discuss What’s Next for Immigration Policy and Politics

To Listen to a Recording of Today’s Press Call, Click Here.

Now that the debate over Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  funding has drawn to a close, many are left wondering what’s next for immigration debate in the House and Senate and what this means as the 2016 election cycle gets further underway.

On this week’s Office Hours call, we heard from a Latino leader, pollster and immigration advocate who discussed the legislative playing field in Congress; how the pro-immigration movement is mobilizing around this issue; and what this means for both parties heading into 2016.

This week, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) hosted their 2015 National Latino Advocacy Days on Capitol Hill where hundreds of Latino leaders from across the country met with key lawmakers and shared their views on some of the most important issues facing the Latino community.  Said Clarissa Martinez-De-Castro, Vice President of Advocacy and Legislation for NCLR, on today’s call, “During its short time in session, the newly elected Republican majority was quick to cave to extremists within the party, attacking immigration relief for millions of American families and reintroducing vicious anti-immigrant legislation that takes the country backward. But members of Congress should know that what happens in Washington, does not stay in Washington.  Just this week, NCLR’s national affiliate network of community organizations, and its youth Lideres Congreso, joined together to denounce the continued pursuit of an anti-immigrant agenda and attacks against recently announced executive actions on immigration. Making nearly one hundred congressional visits, the wide-reaching network of Hispanic leaders vowed to work with their communities to make administrative relief a success, and to ensure that voters back home are keenly aware of their representatives’ actions.” 

As Matt Barreto, Co-Founder of Latino Decisions and Professor of Political Science & Chicano Studies at UCLA, explained, the GOP’s handling of immigration in Congress and in the courts will have major political implications for the Party in 2016:

Republicans need to follow the advice they gave themselves after the 2012 election – to support comprehensive immigration reform, not attack immigrants.  While 75 Republicans did vote for the clean DHS bill, a majority of House Republicans opposed the bill, instead wanting to see Obama’s executive action for parents of U.S. citizens defunded and canceled.  This positioning only further weakens Republicans image with Latinos heading into 2016.  In recent Latino Decisions polling, we found an overwhelming 80% of Latino voters oppose Republican efforts to block or rollback the executive action.  Republicans will not get themselves out of the ‘self-deport era’ by positioning themselves as wanting to deport the parents of U.S. citizen children.”

Explained Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, “All the Republican fire-breathing over immigration speaks to a new level of obsession that is permeating the Party at all levels.  You have Republicans in the House trying to shutdown DHS, and then immediately turning to comprehensive crackdown bills when their strategy failed.  On the other side of the Capitol, you have Republicans like Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) threatening the status of DREAMers who have lived here the longest, and parents of U.S. citizens.  Then there are the Republican state governors and attorneys general who are attacking their own constituents and again, threating to break up more families, via the misguided lawsuit on DAPA and DACA expansion.  Finally, you have the 2016 presidential hopefuls, for the most part, competing with each other to sound tougher and less tolerant than the next guy on immigration.  The Republican Party is like a rabid dog on immigration, and their obsession is killing them with Latino and immigrant voters.”

For recordings and resources from prior Office Hours calls, click here.