Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Comentarios From Maria: The President Will Not Abandon Immigration Reform


Congratulations, Republicans. Now prove you can govern.

This will be particularly important, because–while Republicans are thrilled with the outcome of the midterm elections– they should realize that because of their track record it in no way portends an easier path to the White House in 2016 than they had in the past two election cycles. Why? Latinos.

In fact, the way Congressional Republicans have “governed” in the past two years will make it almost impossible for the GOP to appeal to the new face of America, which includes hundreds of thousands of Latino voters newly registered since 2012 in key battleground states.  These states were not necessarily big players during this election cycle, but they will be decisive for a 2016 White House run.

It has and will continue to register with Latinos, for example, that the GOP has let the anti-immigrant wing of the party, led by Iowa Rep. Steve King, take the lead on key issues like immigration, and has tolerated the anti-immigrant messages being sent by Republican Senate and Gubernatorial candidates this cycle.

Despite the outcome of these elections, Latinos should feel proud that they still have a president in the White House that is ready to fight for the interests of our community and immigration reform.

The day after the midterm elections, President Obama  unequivocally expressed his intent to keep his promise and use his executive authority to protect undocumented immigrants in our country that no longer have the luxury of waiting for Congress to pass a bill: we have already had 4 years of republican inaction. Any action the president decides to take will be an important step towards recognizing and supporting the millions of immigrants that contribute so much to our society and economy. The president wants to work with Congress, but he will not allow republican obstructionism to stifle the possibility of reforming our immigration system.

Republicans must resist the temptation to kowtow to the ideologues in the Senate, such as Senator Ted Cruz, and work once again with Democrats and moderate Republicans to pass real immigration reform and then to press their counterparts in the House to do the same.  There are republicans, who have already begun threatening Obama if he acts unilaterally. Yet by channeling all of their energy into criticizing the president, these representatives fail to realize that Obama has extended a genuine and amicable offer to come to the table in order to find a meaningful solution to the problem.  If republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives manage to put forth a viable and just bill, the president is prepared to replace his executive action with a congressional bill that he can sign into law.

Most Americans believe that immigration reform is an issue that needs to be resolved, and that it should include a way to legalize the undocumented population. If Republicans don’t wake up and smell this café, they will not find a pathway to victory in 2016. Despite the difficult political environment Democrats face, a Latino Decisions Election Eve Poll shows Latino voters supporting Democrats by more than two to one over Republicans.  If this margin holds, the GOP will not see the inside of La Casa Blanca for a very long time.

This piece originally appeared in Spanish in the Washington Hispanic.