The Hill published an interesting piece late last night discussing the division within the Republican party over immigration. The division has been highlighted as of late with the “strongly considered, but not yet official” presidential
campaign exploration talking tour of Jeb Bush. While he generally is able to check all of the usual boxes attached to a conservative presidential candidate, he has been hounded over his views on Common Core and immigration reform.
It seems, however, that some movement may be possible leading up to the 2016 election:
Across the Capitol, Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), a former immigration lawyer, said he’s also working on as many as a dozen separate immigration bills. Labrador, a Tea Party favorite who was a part of the bipartisan House group that unsuccessfully sought a reform compromise, said he’s hoping his proposals will guide the GOP presidential contenders heading into 2016.
“In the next six months I’m going to lay out a vision for the Republican Party — what things we need to do — the three, four, five, six, maybe 12 bills that we need to do — and show why they’re important and will fix the immigration problem,” Labrador said. “And hopefully one or two — or maybe all of the candidates — will get behind something like that.
“When we have a vision, then people follow that vision.”
Poll results from the last two election cycles reveal much of the reason behind the conservatives’ focus on immigration policy. In 2008, Obama won a resounding 67 percent of the Hispanic vote; four years later, the figure rose to 71 percent. And those voters could play an outsized role in important battleground states such as Florida, Colorado, Nevada and Virginia that could decide the White House in 2016.
Granted, nothing in the article notes anything concerning the substance of “that vision” from Rep. Labrador, but I certainly hope that it’s one that takes a practical approach that recognizes a few important facts about the situation:
- You’re not going to mass deport 11+ million people from the United States without great costs, both political and financial.
- Everyone has dignity, regardless of where they were born. Any proposed solution has to respect that fact.
- There must be consequences for not following the rules regarding immigration. Justice, however, demands that such consequences be proportionate to the illegal act. Keep in mind that many undocumented immigrants in the United States today simply overstayed their visa, which is a civil violation, not a criminal violation.
I, for one, am looking forward to a reasoned debate on a solution that incorporates those points.