Immigration reform: 3 reasons it's got its best chance yet
Immigration reform has been snarled in partisan gridlock for years. But after losing 7 in 10 Hispanic votes in 2012, not all Republicans – in Congress and on talk radio – are mounting an all-out war on reform legislation.
The GOP's Sen. John McCain couldn’t do it in 2005. Spanish-speaking Texan President George W. Bush couldn’t do it in 2007. Spooked, President Obama didn’t even try it in his first term, although he had promised to.Skip to next paragraph
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Indeed, Republican opposition has doomed immigration reform nearly every time it has been proposed – 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2010, according to the National Journal.
By all accounts, however, this time will be different. Even the typically restrained Associated Press calls it, “the kind of breathtaking turnaround you rarely see in politics.”
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Senate hearings begin this week on the 844-page immigration reform proposal written by a bipartisan group of eight senators, including co-author Florida senator and conservative idol Marco Rubio. Though opposition still looms, for the first time in years partisan outrage appears to be absent – and this latest immigration reform proposal may have the best chance of passing in a very long while.
Here are three reasons why:
The 2012 election
You haven’t already forgotten, have you? If the 2012 election taught us anything, it is that Hispanic voters matter. Like the youth vote in 2008, Hispanics were the star bloc of the last election, arguably the reason Mr. Obama won and GOP contender Mitt Romney lost.
It’s not just the GOP that recognizes that. Obama won 71 percent of Hispanic voters in 2012, and frankly, he may feel he owes them – especially since he’s been promising immigration reform since he ran for office in 2008.
And the GOP, well, its “pathetic job of reaching out to people of color” (as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) told Fox News after his party’s thrashing) cost it the White House last year. And the party knows it’s more or less doomed without Hispanic support in coming years.
“If we don’t do better with Hispanics, we’ll be out of the White House forever,” Republican strategist Ana Navarro said post-election.
Potential political irrelevance? Nothing like it to fuel legislative action.
Come on, who’s got more conservative cred’ than bill co-author Sen. “I bleed Republican red” Rubio?