The Presidential Election and Immigration Issues

By November 20, 2012Commentary

Immigration policy as at the forefront of the news right now, in large part due to the upcoming presidential election. But the debate over immigration policy is old news in Washington: immigration reform law adopted under then-President Ronald Reagan in 1986 included amnesty for 2.7 million people. Now Republican strategists are worrying that their party’s stance on immigration is alienating much-needed Latino voters for this election.

Currently there are an estimated 11 million people in the U.S. unlawfully, most of them Latinos. Latino activists and most Democratic politicians are backing the plan to allow a number of those in the U.S. illegally to become citizens. The opponents, mostly backed by Republicans, are calling for efforts to find and deport illegal residents and to stepping-up efforts to close borders to incoming immigrants. The Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, has vowed to oppose plans to help illegal residents obtain citizenship, and has been vocal about his anti-immigration stance, pledging to complete a high-tech fence that runs the length of the U.S.-Mexico border, and to create a national database which employers would have to check to see if the person they considered hiring has legal resident status. Romney has also stated that he is in favor of “self-deportation,” driving out immigrants by making residency issues difficult, at best. Since the primaries, Romney has softened his stance, stating that while he would veto the national DREAM Act, “self-deportation” only means that immigrants should be able to leave the U.S. if they desire to.

Current President Barack Obama, running for reelection on the Democratic ticket, first promised in bid for the presidency in 2008 that he would work for a citizenship pathway for immigrants and build out a comprehensive immigration reform plan. He has yet to do so. In fact, the Obama administration has deported a record number of illegal residents out of the U.S., and has increased the number of companies fined for illegally hiring illegal immigrants. However, Obama has halted the deportation of some 65,000 young immigrants brought to the U.S. by their families as children, and has pushed for the DREAM Act, which would allow the youths to earn citizenship in a series of steps.

Hispanic and Latino groups have criticized the Obama administration for the aggressive deportations conducted during the first three years if the Administration. The Administration has stated that the issues with the down economy and a contentious Congress both contributed to postponing immigration reform plans. In 2008, Obama won two-thirds of the Latino vote, and the Latino vote, especially in swing states Florida, Colorado and Nevada, are predicted to be critical for either candidate to win.

A. Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer in Texas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their information filled web site at