Simon Op-Ed, "Some Thoughts on Senate Immigration Border Deal": Simon gives his thoughts on the Senate compromise on border enforcement: "This fall when the President signs a new immigration bill into law in a beautiful Rose Garden ceremony we may look back on the border deal announced yesterday as the savvy compromise which paved the way. I hope that is the case. But I am not convinced that what happened yesterday was strategically advantageous for the cause of reform. While the Democrats received nothing new in the “deal,” the Republicans achieved something very significant – they got the Democrats to buy into one of the big lies of the anti-reform movement, a big lie which is now part of the bill and will be part of the life of the nation for years to come."
Kristian Op-Ed in NBC Latino: "Arizona Sheds Anti-Immigrant Policies; House Should Take Note:" Kristian gives his thoughts on the implications of shifting immigration politics in Arizona: "A combination of real improvements along the border, a series of high-profile legal and political defeats, and a rallying of business and community leaders against the social and economic costs of anti-immigrant politics is ushering in a new, post-SB1070 era in Arizona. As House Republicans in recent days have committed to SB1070 style anti-immigrant politics, it would be wise for them to pay attention to what has happened in Arizona in recent years."
Also see this related article by Benjy Sarlin in MSNBC.
Simon Op-Ed in The Hill: "On the border, DHS has earned Congress' trust": Simon provides his analysis on a flurry of amendments being proposed to the Senate Immigration and border legislation. He argues that the Republican party must acknowledge the positive work done by the Department of Homeland Security at the border in order set realistic and achievable goals for the Senate immigration legislation.
Media call with Southwest Border Mayors to discuss real life impact of immigration policies: NDN hosted a media call with several southwest border mayors will be available to provide context to the ongoing immigration debate and how it impacts real people and the economic vitality of border communities. They include, but are not limited to, the following: Arturo Garino - Mayor of Nogales, Arizona, Raul Salinas - Mayor of Laredo, Texas, Greg Stanton - Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona, Tony Martinez - Mayor of Brownsville, Texas, Ken Miyagashima - Mayor of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Today NDN/NPI hosted a call with two of these regional leaders, Greg Stanton - Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona and Tony Martinez -Mayor of Brownsville, Texas to discuss the Senate immigration legislation and what it means for their communities. To listen to the call please click here.
Simon Op-Ed in Huffington Post: "The Administration's Border Strategy Is Working": Simon analyzes how the US-Mexico border is safer, trade with Mexico has exploded, the immigration system is better, and how the Senate bill will improve upon all of this.
Webinar Presentation: “How Improvements Along the Border, In Our Immigration System and In Mexico Are Impacting the National Immigration Debate”: Three factors that have paved the way for comprehensive immigration reform to happen now in the United States: the US-Mexico border is safer; the immigration system is better; and Mexico is modernizing and growing.
The presentationis also available in the attached pdf.
Report: "Realizing the Strategic National Value of our Trade, Tourism and Ports of Entry with Mexico"- The report states: “Trade between Mexico and the United States is among one of the great untold success stories of the last four years….The current negotiations in Congress on comprehensive immigration reform offer a key window of opportunity to expand our ability to facilitate legitimate trade and tourism with Mexico and grow our economy in the process.”
Kristian Op-Ed in AZ Daily Star: "Updating Ports of Entry Will Help Preserve Our Vital Trade with Mexico": Kristian highlights important border provisions, including adding more customs agents and investing in US ports of entry, of the legislation currently in Congress that will benefit the Southern Arizona and overall US economies.
Kristian Op-Ed for VOXXI: “Reasons for Optimism on Border Section of Immigration Legislation”: Thanks to a successful increase in border security at the Southern border and a growing US-Mexico commercial relationship, the Senate Gang of Eight legislation was able to balance enforcement measures with investment in the critical needs of staffing at our ports of entry at the border.
NDN Statement: New House Immigration Reform Bill Brings Us Closer to Deal. (También en español.): “The introduction of this thoughtful new House immigration reform bill brings us one step closer to getting a bill signed into law in the coming months...."
Event Recap: Evaluating Immigration Reform’s Prospects: NDN and the New Policy Institute hosted long-time immigration advocates Tamar Jacoby and Frank Sharry along with NDN President Simon Rosenberg for an expert, thought-provoking, and optimistic discussion on the path forward for immigration reform.
Simon's latest op-ed in the Huffington Post: Immigration Reform Is Very Much Alive: Contrary to recent news accounts, we are closer to passing a meaningful immigration reform bill than at any point since John McCain and Ted Kennedy introduced their bill in 2005.
Simon’s Statement Celebrating the Passage of the Senate Immigration Reform Bill: “Today, we join in celebrating the passage of the Senate immigration reform bill. As we’ve written before, we believe the bill at its core is ambitious, bold and super smart. It improves the legal immigration system, strengthens border security and interior enforcement, puts unauthorized immigrants on a path to citizenship and makes prudent investments in our ports of entry with Mexico which will create jobs on both sides of our border.”
Analysis: CBO Scoring of Immigration Bill A Game Changer: Simon gives his thought on the CBO score of the Senate Immigration Bill: "The new CBO report is a bit of a political game changer for the immigration debate. While it has been long argued that the Senate Immigration Bill would do many things – improve border security and interior enforcement, resolve the issue of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working here in the US, improve the legal immigration system, smartly invest in expanding our trade with Mexico – we now know that it will also help improve the US economy, create jobs and significantly lower the budget deficit."
Simon's Statement on The House Judiciary Bill 'The SAFE Act:' “Today, the House Republicans declared their independence from Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The self-deportation/attrition movement, which captured the Republican Party’s nominee in 2012, has re-asserted itself in American politics. While the House deferred action vote was regrettable, the newly introduced Goodlatte-Gowdy Enforcement Bill (HR 2278), which calls for among other things, guns and body armor for ICE agents, is as true an expression of self-deportation/attrition as one will ever find in Congress. "
Simon's Statement on the Passage of the Border/Immigration Bill out of the Judiciary Committee- “After the Senate Judiciary Committee passed S.755 with a strong bipartisan majority yesterday, we remain optimistic that Congress will be able to pass a good, comprehensive border and immigration bill this year”
Immigration Reform: Bipartisanship's Improbable Poster Child- NDN President Simon Rosenberg and President and CEO of ImmigrationWorks USA Tamar Jacoby met at the New America Foundation to continue this bipartisan engagement on immigration reform. Watch their discussion of how the Senate “Gang of Eight” provides commonsense reform through compromise on border enforcement, an arduous path to citizenship, and a balance on employment-based visas.
Senator Michael Bennet Optimistic About Immigration Reform's Prospects- Senator Michael Bennet (D-Col.), joined by Congressman Joe Garcia (D, FL-26), on the progress of immigration legislation in Congress.
U.S. - Mexico Trade, Office of Representative O’Rourke: See how trade with Mexico affects each of the 50 U.S. states
On November 22, NDN and the New Policy Institute were honored to welcome Alan Bersin, Assistant Secretary of International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to discuss the deepening and vital US-Mexico bilateral relationship.
You can watch the discussion here:
A/S Bersin highlighted how increasingly coordinated US-Mexico efforts on security that were “unthinkable 15 years ago” are paving the way for a greater focus on shared economic prosperity and global competitiveness. This year US and Mexico officials committed to joint border patrols and to work to strengthen Mexico’s rule of law on its border with Guatemala. The vision of our shared US-Mexico border is shifting from a divisive line to the focal point of “the movement of goods, people, ideas, [and] images on a massive scale back and forth between our two countries.” While there is still much work to do on issues of security, immigration reform, and bilateral communications, the prospects for a shared future are bright. That is especially evident when considering the $1.4 billion dollars worth of trade crosses the US-Mexico border per day and the endless prospects for educational and energy exchange.
A/S Bersin and NDN remain confident that Congress is not as divided on immigration reform as commonly believed and that it can pass meaningful reform that further develops this relationship with our southern neighbor. (See our recent discussion with Reps. Garcia, Denham, and Horsford).
As A/S Berson stated: "el futuro ya no es lo que era antes" (“the future isn’t what it used to be”). The “future of the next 50 years, if we continue to get this right, is actually the US-Mexico Relationship and more broadly the North American relationship.”
On December 5th, 2013 – NDN’s Middle East and North Africa Initiative hosted a discussion with Rep. Adam Smith, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee. Topics covered include economic and diplomatic engagement, Iran, Egypt, Syria, military aid, and a broader regional strategy. Full video of the event is available below.
“There isn’t much to actually do in Dakhla, but it’s a beautiful place to just be.” This aphorism came from a middle-aged Moroccan woman seated next to me as we flew into the small coastal city in the Western Sahara. She was right that Dakhla is gorgeous, but if the Moroccan government sees its vision come to pass, there will soon be much more than beaches and dunes to attract people to the city, and much more to do.
The small metropolis of 170,000 barely existed a decade a ago, but after millions of dollars of investment it now boasts greatly expanded infrastructure, housing, business activity, and stands ready to play an important role at the front lines of Morocco’s plan to become a platform for access to the greater African continent. The continually expanding port now supplies over three quarters of the seafood in Morocco in addition to growing exports to Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Meanwhile, the last ten years have seen the creation of over 3,000 small and medium sized businesses in the area. And this growth is no accident. Now that the violence between the Polisario Front and the Moroccan government is in the distant past and a final negotiated settlement appears eventually inevitable — the government believes that Dakhla and the greater south are positioned to be one of the first success stories of the new economic regionalization plan and can serve as a springboard for investments from international corporations interested in serving larger markets in west and central Africa.
Since the uprisings of the Arab Spring, the Kingdom of Morocco has fared far better than many of its neighbors, with a new constitution ushering in several years of reform rather than revolution. This has allowed the country to set itself apart from some regional competitors and left it prepared to leverage its significant advantages in banking, location, and stability — key considerations for succeeding on a continent that is quickly becoming harder and harder for corporations to ignore. Africa already represents more consumer spending than Russia with a larger GDP than Brazil and Russia combined. Over the next decade those numbers are projected to grow tremendously as 17% of the world’s population will call Africa their home by 2020 and rapid urbanization and economic growth will continue to expand the middle class.
It is often said in Morocco that Tangier is their gateway to the north while Dakhla is their gateway to the south. With free trade agreements in place with the United States, EU, Turkey, and several Arab countries, the government appears to have the international structures in place that can compliment their long term investments in education and governance — critical to realizing their vision of becoming a regional platform and keeping those doors wide open. When King Mohammed VI visits Washington, DC this week to there will surely be discussions about security cooperation and cultural dialogue. But rest assured that the delegation will also be looking to put on their best business-friendly face as they roll out the welcome mats to potential investors. At a time when stable governments in the region seem scarce and economic diplomacy has become the norm rather than the exception, the Moroccans are likely to find a warm reception.
NDN thanks Representatives Joe Garcia (D-FL), Jeff Denham (R-CA), and Steven Horsford (D-NV), as well as TV host and reporter Fernando Espuelas for joining us today for a discussion of immigration reform.
Reps Garcia and Horsford are original sponsors of House comprehensive immigration reform bill H.R. 15, and Rep Denham is the first Republican cosponsor. Whether via that bill or others, all are united in their determination to continue working on immigration reform this year. They challenge the House to "have a full debate on these issues," to bring bills to the floor, and to pass legislation that boosts the US economy, creates jobs, secures our future workforce, secures our borders, and brings 11 million people out of the shadows. They are confident there is enough support in the House to pass meaningful immigration reform.
Representative Denham hinted there would be more Republican cosponsors of H.R. 15 coming soon, but also mentioned other possible bills from Reps Issa and Cantor. He encouraged advocates to ask their Members who don't support existing legislation 'what they do stand for' so that together, Republicans and Democrats can reach a solution that fixes our broken immigration system.
In case you missed it, the video is available here:
"It's time for all of us to work together to get comprehensive immigration reform done now....The support is there in a bipartisan way," said Rep. Horsford.
Also see the following articles covering the event:
In a political environment most notable today for its partisan trench warfare, serious conversations across party lines are nonetheless taking place over a major reform of corporate taxes. This unusual instance of comity comes from a genuine consensus that lowering the corporate tax rate – the favored goal would move it from 35 percent to 28 percent – would be good for the economy. As an economic matter, a revenue-neutral cut in the corporate tax rate has something for almost everyone: It should lead directly to more investment and higher profits, which in turn should produce stronger growth and, with any luck, raise the wages of some workers. Yet, serious corporate tax reform will always be a long shot unless the parties can agree on how to pay for it and what to do about all the businesses that aren’t subject to it.
The hardest piece of this puzzle involves where to find the money for a lower rate. If, as expected, profits, growth and some wages go up, part of the cost should be relatively painless – but those additional revenues would amount to more of free appetizer than a whole lunch. And one popular target for additional revenues, the special tax deductions for certain investments by oil and gas companies, would provide no more than a palate cleanser. In the end, there are only a few pieces of the corporate code large enough to finance meaningful rate reductions – and all of them are fiercely defended by the companies that benefit most from them.
The biggest target is accelerated depreciation – some $550 billion over 10 years to provide in special tax deductions that offset the cost of large corporate investments, and at a rate faster than the equipment or structure actually depreciates. For the biggest beneficiaries, think of the communications equipment industry, aircraft makers, mining and industrial equipment producers, and other heavy manufacturing. Pushing the corporate rate down to 28 percent rate would offset their economic costs, while helping other industries even more. But the revenues from ending accelerated deprivation for corporations would only be enough to lower the rate to a little less than 31 percent.
Another costly provision is “deferral” – the ability of American multinationals to delay paying any U.S. corporate taxes on their foreign profits until they transfer those profits from their foreign subsidiaries to the parent corporation back in America. While experts argue over how much revenues would actually result from ending deferral, it would spread the pain: That’s because the industries affected most by an end to deferral make relatively modest use of accelerated depreciation – think of our leading software, Internet and pharmaceutical firms. The catch lies in the indirect costs. American multinationals earn foreign profits by out-competing their German, British and Japanese rivals in foreign markets. But unlike the United States, Germany, Britain, Japan and nearly every other country taxes corporations only on the income they earn in their home markets. So, ending deferral would force only U.S. companies to pay taxes both abroad and at home, leaving them at a competitive disadvantage. Holding them harmless while ending deferral would require a corporate rate even lower than 28 percent – and the revenues gained by ending deferral, along with accelerated depreciation, wouldn’t be enough to get the rate down to even 28 percent.
Moreover, corporate tax reform is not the same as business tax reform, not by a long shot. More than half of all business profits in America are earned by companies that don’t pay the corporate tax, including most investment and legal practices, hedge funds, private equity funds, and privately held companies. They are all organized as partnerships, LLCs or S-corps, not subject to the corporate tax, and taxed as “pass-throughs:” The income of such firms is distributed among their owners and then taxed at the owners’ personal tax rate, sometimes as ordinary income and more often as capital income.
As an economic matter, the right answer is to tax all business income at the same rate, whether the business is a corporation or something else. It also would help with funding the lower rate: For example, ending accelerated depreciation for all businesses, corporate or not, would raise an estimated $775 billion over 10 years instead of $550 billion. Moreover, a 28 percent rate on all business income mighty well raise substantial revenues, since so much of non-corporate business income today is taxed at the 20 percent rate for capital income. And that’s a political problem. To begin, ending the special “carried interest” tax break for hedge funds, private equity funds and real estate trusts might well ignite a Washington firestorm – which could explain why President Obama didn’t try to do it when he held healthy majorities in both house of Congress. That’s not all: To maintain a level playing field on personal taxes, the current 20 percent tax on the capital gains and dividends of ordinary investors also would have to go to 28 percent up as well. But if that happened, the shareholders of public corporations would be at a costly disadvantage, since the same income would face a single 28 percent rate when earned by a non-corporate pass-through business, and a rate twice as high when generated by a corporation (28 percent at the corporate level and another 28 percent at the owners’ level).
This economic logic has led many conservative economists and Republicans to call for repealing all corporate taxes. Of course, there is no prospect of a bipartisan consensus for doing that. Rather, the Democratic side of the consensus for a lower corporate tax rate has always insisted that the same corporations make up for any and all revenues lost from cutting the rate. And that’s a problem which they haven’t yet solved.
This Post was originally published on Dr. Shapiro's blog
Update 11/14: Rep. Steven Horsford of Nevada will also be joining us today. Looking forward to a great discussion.
In an effort to jumpstart immigration reform in the House, a group of Democrats led by Rep. Joe Garcia (FL)introduced H.R. 15, a combination of the bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the bipartisan border security bill passed out of the House Homeland Security Committee. A month later, 186 Democrats, almost the entire House caucus, and 3 Republicans have signed on as cosponsors in an effort to pressure leadership to bring it or any other immigration reform legislation to a vote on the House floor.
We commend Rep. Jeff Denham (CA) for being the first Republican to sign on to H.R. 15, reaching across the aisle to seek a solution that brings 11 million immigrants out of the shadows, fixes the system for future immigration, and boosts the entire US economy and its future global competitiveness.
We are pleased to welcome Reps. Garcia and Denham for a discussion on immigration reform moderated by TV host and reporter Fernando Espuelas. The Congressmen will each offer preliminary remarks highlighting why immigration reform is imperative for their states and the entire US and its prospects going forward, and then will be joined by Simon Rosenberg for an audience Q&A. Please join us!
When: Thursday, November 14, 2013. 12-1:15pm Lunch will be served at 12noon, presentation will begin at 12:15, followed by Q&A
Where: NDN Event Space, 729 15th Street NW, 1st Floor
To RSVP, please email email@example.com with “RSVP Immigration Nov 14th” in the subject line.
For more of our analysis about the border and immigration reform, visit this page on our site. Also see Simon’s op-ed in on how the two parties are closer to a deal than ever before and this blog on how immigration reform is alive in the House.
We hope you can join us for this timely and informative discussion. This is an open event- please feel free to forward to others who might be interested.
As Vice President Biden remarked during the recent High Level Economic Dialogue in Mexico, “there is no reason why our partnership, the U.S.-Mexico partnership, should not be among the strongest that we have.” Mexico is now the US’s second largest export market, third ranked trade partner, and fourth largest source of tourism revenue. Two-way trade surpassed $500 billion in 2012, with over $1 billion worth of trade crossing the US-Mexico border each day. Recent announcements on security collaboration as well as the first meeting of the US-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue indicate that this crucial bilateral relationship is deepening, broadening and improving.
On November 22nd, NDN and the New Policy Institute are pleased to welcome Alan Bersin, Assistant Secretary of International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to a discussion of the US-Mexico bilateral relationship. Previously having served as Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection and as DHS’s Special Representative for Border Affairs, Bersin is one of the administration’s foremost experts on the border region. He has travelled extensively in Mexico, most recently in July 2013 to accompany former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to high-level meetings in Matamoros and Mexico City. Drawing upon these experiences, Bersin will share his perspective on improvements in the US-Mexico bilateral relationship, after which he will take questions from the audience.
This event will take place at NDN, 729 15th St NW, 1st floor, from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. Lunch will be served at 12:00 and the discussion will begin promptly at 12:15.
For those trying to take stock of US politics, last night’s elections confirmed what recent polls have indicated – Democrats head into 2014 in a somewhat stronger position than the degraded Republicans.
But there is also a sense that the current climate is very unsettled. Recent stumbles by President Obama raise questions about whether the Democrats can retain their advantage into next year. While polls have Republicans at historic lows, the President is at the lowest recorded level of approval of his Presidency. A bad shutdown influenced November jobs report is likely to add the pressure to see better outcomes from Washington
It is my assessment that the 2014 landscape, and perhaps the landscape for the rest of the Obama Presidency, will be determined by how well the President Obama’s very ambitious agenda fares in the months ahead.
Consider what is in front of him, and the country now: an important debate about how to create growth and jobs in a more competitive global economy, deficit reduction, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the Farm Bill, immigration reform, a fast-changing MENA region slipping further into chaos, enormous trade pacts in the Pacific and the Atlantic and post Snowden fallout both abroad and at home. Of course there are many more critical issues, but even this partial list is daunting, huge, consequential.
These many challenges present the President with a great opportunity to re-affirm a narrative of modern problem solver, uniquely qualified to understand the great challenges in front of us and with the courage to offer a set of solutions as big as the moment, and the skill and grit to see it through.
I hope the President reaches back to his 2011 State of the Union Address, my personal favorite of his speeches to the Joint Sessions of Congress, to inform these next few months of his Presidency. In that speech he seemed much more comfortable about leveling with the American people at how the world was changing, and how America needed to “up its game.” It was a mature speech by a responsible leader, explaining while the world and our own country are going through deep, structural change, he had a big, thoughtful plan to ensure our success in transformative times.
This narrative is the very opposite of the “you can keep what you have” meme so present in the current debate over health care, or the nostalgic economic themes voiced in the President’s summer Knox College speech. The truth is that in a time of great change, you can’t keep what you have. There is no going back. You/we are going to have something different. And it is up to the President to make sure that these new times are better, not different, and certainly not worse, for the American people.
I think the President has to return to some version of “upping our game” in the months ahead as it provides a much needed public rationale for his ambition. Rather than these issues being seen through the divisive prism of Dem vs. Rep, his approach would be just to be doing what a leader does for his people in time of great transformation. It is a political antidote to the politics of shutdown, and makes the Republican’s desperate nostalgia for times gone by more favorable to their approach look even more irresponsible and reckless. It is “forward vs. backward” redux.
These next few months will be among the most consequential of the Obama Presidency. If Obamacare gets back on track, the economy continues to improve, our investments in the Middle East seem to be paying off, the President will be in a strong position to propose and fight for the rest of his appropriately ambitious agenda. But even if these outcomes are undetermined in the days ahead, I think the President needs to adopt a different strategic approach to selling his agenda. America is not going to have a smooth transition to a new, global age. It is going to be a difficult one, one that requires sacrifice, risk, investment and honesty. Mistakes are going to be made. But the rest of the world is upping its game, and we, more than anything else, must up ours to retain our position in the world. The choice about forward vs. backward, progress vs. decline needs to be made clearer, starker for the American people. This is no ordinary moment in our history, and the political elites in the US need to stop pretending it is. It is our responsibility to level with the American people, and have them participate as full partners in building this better America of the 21st century.
The success of the President’s second term might very well come down to what happens with his bold agenda in the next several months. To succeed, I think the President needs to take a step back from the day to day, create more of a national rallying cry for where we need to go, and to challenge Congress and the American people to come along with him. Together, we can raise our game, and meet the challenges of a new day.
One of the main reasons significant progress on immigration is still possible in coming months is the long history of Republican leadership and support of the issue. With support from Republican voters, important elements of the Republican coalition and many important Republican leaders, immigration reform does not resemble far more divisive issues like health reform and the budget. A strong Senate framework , coupled with a few modest changes being discussed in the House, provides Republican Members of Congress a powerful legislative package that they should be able to take home and proudly sell to their constituents.
Consider the following:
National Republican Leadership – immigration reform has long been an issue championed by national Republicans. Ronald Reagan, both Bushes, and most recently 2008 Republican nominee John McCain were not just supporters of immigration reform, but national, spirited champions.
Additionally the 2000 campaign of George W. Bush was the first American Presidential campaign to make extensive use of Spanish-language advertising and free media to reach a new generation of Hispanic immigrant voters. It was in fact a Republican who pioneered these modern techniques, ones now being far more extensively deployed by Democrats than Bush’s successors.
The most graphic example of this GOP leadership legacy this year came during the immigration reform debate in the U.S. Senate. We witnessed a true bi-partisan legislative process, led by GOPers including McCain and Flake of AZ, and the final product passed with 68 votes, including 14 GOP Senators. Few issues of significance in today’s Washington have seen this kind of comfortable, successful bi-partisan result.
The Modern GOP Grew In Heavily Hispanic Parts of the United States – One of the reasons many national GOP leaders have been so supportive of immigration reform is that the modern GOP grew out of the Sun Belt, and the largest states in the Sun Belt – CA, FL, TX – have large immigrant and Hispanic populations.
The first true conservative GOP Presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, hailed from Arizona. Nixon and Reagan came from California, the Bushes from Texas and John McCain from Arizona. All in all 11 of the last 14 GOP nominees have come from AZ, CA and TX, giving these nominees and their Party great familiarity and comfort with the growing US Hispanic populations.
Recent Polling Shows Immigration Reform Is Popular With Republican Voters – An Americans for a Conservative Direction poll reported that 79% of Republican primary voters asked said it is “very important” to fix the current immigration system, with another 17% answering it is “somewhat important,” indicating 94% of what is arguably the party’s most devoted constituency think it is something Congress should address.
Furthermore, a poll by the Public Religion Research Institute and Brookings earlier this year found 53% of overall Republicans favor an earned path to citizenship, while 13% favor at least a path to legal residency. A more recent survey by the PRRI showcases that a path to citizenship aligns with traditionally Republican values. A strong majority of all Americans think immigration reform would benefit the economy by allowing illegal immigrants to pay taxes (84%), that illegal immigrants would work hard to earn citizenship (76%), and that they would only take jobs that Americans don’t want (64%).
This polling is consistent with polling on the issue going back to 2005. There has been broad majority support for CIR, and deep support in the Republican Party itself, since this debate began almost a decade ago. There is also, of course, passionate and deep opposition. But it is a minority, even of Republican voters, in most polls.
Large Parts of the Traditional GOP Coalition Support Immigration Reform –Unlike the current debates over Obamacare and the budget, large parts of the GOP coalition support immigration reform and want the GOP to work with the Democrats. The Chamber of Commerce, High-Tech, Ag groups, anti-tax/pro-business leaders like Grover Norquist, Catholic and Evangelical leaders all support reform, and are aggressively lobbying their GOP representatives. There are few other issues championed by President Obama that will ever attract this kind of broad-based support from traditional Republican groups.
For years, the “divisiveness” of the immigration issue has been overstated. There are few issues in Washington with such a bi-partisan history, and which enjoy so much support with voters of both parties. The Senate gave the House a good bi-partisan framework to work from. The House GOP has leaned into the issue much more than is understood right now, having passed five CIR related bills out of committee. The House Democrats signaled their willingness to deal by grafting the House GOP’s border proposal onto their new CIR bill, HR 15. And just this weekend we saw a House Republican, Rep. Jeff Denham, sign on to the House Democratic immigration bill, saying more of his colleagues would soon follow.
While of course there is opposition coming from certain Republican circles, we are in fact closer to a deal today than any point since Senators McCain and Kennedy introduced their original legislation in 2005.
The current Senate/House bill gives House Republicans a lot to take home to their voters. It grows the economy and reduces the deficit by a trillion dollars. It strengthens border security and interior enforcement. It invests in border infrastructure and adds more customs agents, allowing more job producing trade and tourism. It makes our immigration skills-based and much more business friendly. It helps resolve issues with visas for agricultural workers, something agribusiness has been clamoring for. And the path to citizenship for the 11m undocumented immigrants is likely to be so arduous that those Republicans wanting to make sure they “don’t reward bad behavior” should be satisfied.
When Republicans go home to make their case for why they voted to reform our antiquated immigration system, they know that while there are Republican voters and coalition partners who will decry them for taking this tough vote, there are far more voters, and far more powerful members of their coalition ready to reward their courage. For after all, immigration reform has been as much a Republican as a Democratic issue over the past two generations of American politics. And this history, and its legacy, is one of the main reasons we remain optimistic that Congress can overcome a nasty period and pass immigration reform in the months to come.
"Older politicians will have to get beyond their ideological blinders to recognize the opportunity waiting for any candidate or political party that can embrace both halves of the Millennial era civic ethos paradox."