How Democrats React to Immigration Reform
Even before Democrats regained control of the White House with the election of Illinois senator Barack Obama, the public had been clamoring for comprehensive immigration reform. With the revival of the issue of reform during the Democratic primaries leading up to the election, immigration news was once again a popular topic of discussion, and since Barack Obama has ascended to the position of Commander-in-Chief, his constituents' pleas are all the more fervent to tackle growing concerns about the subject of
One of the biggest attentions of immigration news in the past few years has been the call to improve border security, especially along the Mexican-American border, with more physically imposing obstacles to attempts to enter the country, and harsher punishments for offenders of immigration law, including immediate deportation from the United States regardless of additional criminality. In line with the majority of voters, the Democrats nominally support measures to increase the security at ports-of-entry.
As one might expect, though, much as President Bush broke with those who voiced more extreme positions against an immigration amnesty program for illegals, Democrats tend to differ on how strict policies of border enforcement should be. While the most liberal Democrats tend to oppose border fences in all instances, other more moderate Democrats see illegal immigration as a violation outright and a call for those offenders to be cast out of the United States.
Generally, on the other hand, Democrats tend to seek immigration amnesty for those illegal immigrants who have remained in good standing while residing in the United States. The desires of registered Hispanic voters do play a role in this somewhat, and at the worst, this stance panders to groups that have traditionally helped to carry the Democratic Party.
Nevertheless, with the economy suffering, American voters as a whole are becoming less inclined to support expensive methods of catering to the needs of illegal aliens. With the relatively recent free fall of the U.S.'s banks and job market, immigration news in this country is inextricably tied to its economic news. When businesses are failing, homes are being foreclosed on, and positions are rapidly disappearing for foreign markets, illegal immigrants taking the work and public assistance of domestic laborers may cause people to reverse their enthusiasm for an immigration amnesty program.
Even things such as the decision of whether or not to offer illegal aliens state-issued driver's licenses have been a source of immigration news and debate. With regard to said issue, presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton was criticized for not having an immediate, definitive answer to the question, and this may have been a considerable factor in her loss to Obama in the Democratic primaries. Similar discrepancies over whether or not to offer legal identification to undocumented residents have had tangible impacts on elections at the state and federal level.
NEXT: How has Obama Handled the Issue of Immigration?