Although immigration reform should be driven by compassion, that’s not the political reality.

As with most issues of social importance, Congress’ view of public policy is driven by vote-counting.

The Cruel Math Of Immigration Reform In The House
July 4, 2013 · The American Prospect · Paul Waldman

cc7b1758e4de11e2a60a12313d173966.jpgThere just aren’t that many Republicans with both the inclination and the incentive to vote for comprehensive reform.

Every politician who gets elected to Congress believes that she’s going for idealistic reasons. Sure, there are compromises to be made and certain kinds of drudgery to suffer through . . . but they each believe that they’ll do the right thing.

Citing a Wall Street Journal analysis, Waldman explains why immigration reform is likely doomed this year.  Only 38 of the House’s 234 Republicans, or 16%, represent districts in which Latinos account for 20% or more of the population.

In addition, he adds, “only 28 Republican-held districts are considered even remotely at risk of being contested by a Democratic challenger, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

Waldman’s position has two shortcomings.

First, he excludes Democratic Party immigration reform fence-sitters, several of whom also reside in similarly populated districts.

Second, he overlooks that Latinos are not alone in this battle. Of course, this view is a common media, political, and public error.

Nonetheless, his central point is well taken. There is an ugly reality to American politics.

Elected representatives are unlikely to bite the hands that feed them.

VOTE COUNTING AND PRESSURE POLITICS

Immigration reform activists understand vote-counting.

In various parts of the county, campaigns to unseat reform opponents are already being launched.

Immigration Campaign To Target 11 House Republicans
July 2, 2013 · New York Times · Julia Preston

One of the largest coalitions of immigrant, labor and voter groups supporting an immigration overhaul said it will wage “all-in throw-down” campaigns in July in the districts of seven Republican leaders in the House of Representatives, and four lawmakers in purple districts that could become Democratic in future elections.

Leaders of the coalition, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, and the Service Employees International Union, one of the most active unions working to pass the overhaul, said they would spend more than $1 million on radio ads, telephone banks and social media drives in the districts.

In my neck of the woods, Riverside, California, local immigration organizers have likewise jumped into the battle.

Immigration Activists Target Local Republican Congressmen
June 29, 2013 · Redlands-Loma Linda Patch · Gina Tenorio

riverside-immigration-activists-push-for-reform

A day after the Senate voted to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation, the Coalition for Humane Immigration of Los Angeles announced an effort by members of a California Table to move the Republican House members to support reform.

The California Table is a network of independent organizations throughout
California fighting for immigration reform.

Within the following week, these groups delivered petitions of immigration reform to five local representatives:

  • Rep. Gary Miller, 8300 Utica Avenue Suite 105, Rancho Cucamonga
  • Rep. Ed Royce, 210 W Birch St., Suite 201, Brea.
  • Rep. Paul Cook, 14955 Dale Evans Parkway, Apple Valley.
  • Rep. Buck McKeon, 26650 The Old Road, Suite 203 Santa Clarita.
  • Rep. Darrel Issa, 1800 Thibodo Road, Suite #310 Vista, Ca.

Unfortunately, being a Riverside immigration attorney, I do not comprehend such zealous activism. The current proposal is a defective product.

I’m confused by their enthusiasm.

Are immigration activists willing participants in supporting a deficient immigration reform proposal? Or are they simply blind to some of the provisions of the current proposal?

I respect their willingness to fight. I question whether this is the proper fight.

MISTARGETED IMMIGRATION ACTIVISM?

Why support a flawed proposal? The world will not come to an end if the current legislation fails to reach President Obama’s desk.

In my view, the current reform process needs to be scrapped.

For Whom The Bell Tolls: The Future Of Immigration Reform
June 30, 2013 · Immigration Law, Policy, And Politics · Carlos Batara

the-future-of-immigration-reformGoogle+ · There Is No Lemon Law For Political Elections. As immigration reform advocates have learned over the course of the past nine months, there is no recourse for buying into apparently empty political rhetoric.A promise without commitment, in other words, is not a promise.

Shortly after my article was published, I received several comments from disgruntled supporters who said, “Does it matter to speak out against the bill? No matter what, too many activists are going to support it anyway.”

It certainly seems that way.

AN ANGUISHED ANALYSIS

A few days ago, I read a thoughtful and well-reasoned blog post written by a young would-be DREAM Act beneficiary who has already been deported.

America: Land Of The Free?
July 4, 2013 · Mundo Citizen · Nancy Landa

america-the-land-of-the-free After what has been considered a historic moment in immigrant rights’ history, many in this movement are forced to deal with this question: “Do you support the Immigration Bill approved by the Senate?” I dare to say I am not the only one at odds with the long-awaited reform proposal. On the one hand, it opens the door to a pathway for legalization. On the other hand, its strong focus on security is a
result of a misguided public debate on immigration.

After noting DREAMers are perhaps the immigration group which has received the most sympathy throughout the reform debate, she acknowledged the current proposal’s negative effects on other immigrants, including the family members of DREAM Act beneficiaries.

Unfortunately, the parents and relatives of these DREAMers might never be able to adjust their status in a permanent manner due to the imposition of unattainable border metrics as a prerequisite in addition to strict requirements to maintain a temporary status. Family separation would continue with this Senate bill. Nonetheless, these same immigrants at risk of losing their temporary status at any moment, would still be required to pay income taxes and contribute to the American economy without receiving any public benefits like basic healthcare only available to permanent residents. This seems like one-sided deal and far from what the immigrant community has been fighting for decades.

She concluded, “Can American do better? Only if the immigrant community demands it.”

I agree.

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