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The Politics of Immigration Reform After SB1070


Garat Ibrahim • May 11, 2010

In the last couple weeks the issue of immigration reform has come to the front burner due to draconian laws created by the anti-immigrant movement. One such law has been passed by Arizona state legislature and almost ten more state are on the way to introduce similar laws.

Many people in our society have spoken about it, but at the end of the day our elected leaders are the ones that change policy. In this situation, they have put politics before policy. This is what causes passions to boil up whenever this issue is talked about; the underlying understanding that politicians won’t tackle this issue because of upcoming elections.

Then there are the rampant myths: the idea that immigration reform helps only one segment or group of people is not true. Most of the data put out by anti-immigrant groups about undocumented immigrants is not true. Immigration is what made this country what it is today, many people of different backgrounds yearn to make it to its shores because of what it truly represents.

It is quite interesting to read and hear all the press conferences saying we have to move with this legislation first or that one. We need every issue to have the same consideration; immigration is just as important to tackle as financial reform, climate change, or energy.

Still, considering the public appetite for immigration reform, congressional leaders may have to reconsider. It is not a simple equation for the democratic leadership to put forward when they think about what really suits the base. Pursuing a right-leaning immigration reform draft like the one Senator Chuck Schumer outlined will anger the Far Right anyway. Therefore, anything our leaders do should not play to the emotions of a vocal minority; which merely amount to more threats before the mid-term elections. It is quite tricky and delicate to achieve immigration reform in this kind of environment; however, public opinion – and the last few weeks’ rallies – may dictate otherwise.

The marches will continue and the debate of immigration reform is now or never.

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