Northeastern University College Democrats: Immigration Reform

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Comprehensive immigration reform is a completely feasible legislative agenda item for this particular mid-term election year. According to a Gallup Poll conducted in January, this Congress started 2014 off with an abysmal 13% approval rating.[1] This poll reflects the belief that Congress is unable and unwilling to address the most pressing issues that our society faces. If Congress were able to pass comprehensive immigration reform, it would prove the vitality of our democracy and curb the rising apathy in our political system. Both Congressional Democrats and President Obama have been working tirelessly to make adjustments to our immigration system.[2] However, they are not alone, as this is an issue with bi-partisan support in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. In fact, 14 Senate Republicans voted in favor of the Senate Immigration Bill last year.[3] Further, the House Majority Whip, Kevin McCarthy came out in support of giving a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.[4] The only factor that would make comprehensive immigration reform unattainable is if Republicans in the House of Representatives (unlike their Senate colleagues), are reluctant to vote because they are being challenged by Tea Party members in the primary.[5] If this is the case, most primaries are finished in September, and the Speaker Boehner should do what is right for the country and work for immigration reform in late September.

The largest barrier to across the aisle is the fact that many leaders in the House of Representatives do not want to take a stance when they are facing primary challenges for individuals who are on the extreme right of their political ideology.[6] Once politicians are able to see beyond their own political careers and can focus on what policy is best for the country, both sides of the political spectrum have stances that they are unwilling to compromise on. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi represents the view of the Democrats when she insists that the immigration plan include a path to citizenship.[7] On the contrary, Rep. Paul Ryan represents the Republican demand that immigration reform must increase the country’s border security.[8]This comes at time when the population of unauthorized immigrants have declined and President Obama has deported more immigrants than any other president.[9][10]

As Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said, “80 million baby boomers are going to retire in the next 20 years. In 1955 there were 15 workers for every social security recipient, today there’s only 3, and in 20 years there’s only going to be 1. Who’s going to take care of the baby boomers when we to retire? Who’s going to replace the workers in our economy if we don’t have better legal immigration?”.[11] Additionally, it is important to take a look at the economic output of immigrants. In the 25 largest metropolitan areas combined, immigrants are responsible for 20% of economic output.[12] It is essential to have a steady flow of immigration so that our economy can remain robust. Further, immigrants tend to fill the low-skill and low-wage jobs that Americans are not willing to take.[13]The one’s that don’t take low-wage jobs and are college educated go to other countries and become our competitors.[14]

 

Marvin McMoore
Northeastern University College Democrats

 

[1] http://www.gallup.com/poll/166838/congress-job-approval-starts-2014.aspx

[2] http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/house-democrats-introduce-immigration-reform-bill/story?id=20440034

[3] http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/immigration-bill-2013-senate-passes-93530.html#ixzz2t2pZbdGh

[4] http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2014/01/23/third-highest-ranking-republican-in-us-house-calls-for-legalizing-undocumented/

[5] http://www.nationaljournal.com/off-to-the-races/the-gop-s-primal-fear-of-primaries-20140210

[6] http://www.nationaljournal.com/off-to-the-races/the-gop-s-primal-fear-of-primaries-20140210

[7] http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/29/pelosi-insists-immigration-plan-include-path-to-citizenship-some-house-republicans-vow-to-oppose-major-reform/

[8] http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/feb/2/ryan-border-security-no-1-priority-gop-immigration/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS

[9] http://www.pewhispanic.org/files/2013/09/Unauthorized-Sept-2013-FINAL.pdf

[10] http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/aug/10/american-principles-action/has-barack-obama-deported-more-people-any-other-pr/

[11] http://www.c-span.org/video/?313610-5/FinalIm

[12] http://www.fiscalpolicy.org/ImmigrantsIn25MetroAreas_20091130.pdf

[13]http:/www.washingtonpost.com/national/low-skilled-immigrants-economic-burden-or-boon/2013/08/24/b1b88858-ed5b-11e2-9008-61e94a7ea20d_story.html

[14] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/22/AR2008102201209.html

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