At first I thought the recent announcement by President Barack Obama that the U.S. would try to open up a path to citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants landed with a thud. Actually, it was more like a feather. Because on the scale of weighty issues on immigration reform, this is fairly soft stuff. Why? Because it practically has bi-partisan support. I would say the issue has been out there so long that it is like a feather that lands and just as the Hispanic population embraces it, it floats off and eludes them once again.
I think it is really important that voters realize both parties are working on opening up opportunities for children who were brought here by their illegal immigrant parents. And that the Democrats don't have a lock on recognizing the need for some kind of reform. After all, it was Ronald Reagan who touted an amnesty program to ease problems along the US/Mexico border. And Florida's Republican Sen. Marco Rubio who proposed his own version of the Dream Act back in April. Rubio wants to create a system where these kids could earn work papers by taking college classes or through military service.
The timing of Obama's announcement seems designed to court Hispanics in key states in these 2012 elections - Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico. But Obama should take note that Hispanics are the fastest growing segment in the social conservative bucket of the Republican Party. Some have estimated that within the next 30 years, minorities will be the majority in this country and neither party will be able to take them for granted.To assume this latest political checkmate leads directly to votes for Obama may be naive. First, it has turned off some in the Latino community who wonder why more wasn't done earlier in his first term as President. And second, as we've said, not all Hispanics vote Democrat.
This post is part of a weekly conversation with our Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. To see the original question and see what all the bloggers had to say, read What Do You Think of President Obama's Immigration Decision?
Photo via ModerateMoms