Republicans and Immigration

Shortly after Memorial Day 2015 the federal appeals court blocked the Obama Administration’s plan to offer a projected 4 million undocumented immigrants some relief from the threat of deportation. It is now being discussed as a blow to immigrant groups, a restraint on Obama’s executive authority, and another potential setback to his legacy.

 

With over 20 individuals vying for the Republican nomination in 2016, it raises the question, what exactly will the Republican Party’s standing be on the nation’s immigration policy? The Democratic contenders will surely face a similar line of questioning, but for the Republicans, immigration has been somewhat of a vice, so there is a high tendency to press them.

When President Obama enacted the executive orders on immigration back in November 2014, Republicans felt that Obama’s executive orders were an abuse of power. Instead of approaching the matter in court through a judicial ruling, they chose to attack at the funding source, the Department of Homeland Security. They put forth a bill that included amendments that prevent the use of DHS funds to enforce Obama’s executive actions that would benefit about 4 million immigrants by protecting them from deportation and allowing them to apply for job permits. The amendments would also prevent any use of funds that would continue implementing the 2012 order that protects immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors.

Whether or not all of the President’s executive actions on the immigration issue will be settled prior to him leaving office in 2017, the Republicans will have their work cut out for them with the voters. Over the past ten years, minorities have accounted for over 85% of the nation’s growth in the population. During that time, the Republican Party has held on to their primary constituency, only looking to get more votes from an inevitably falling base of voters. In other words, not a very good outlook.

Latino voters make up the majority of the 85% of the nation’s population growth. Republicans will have to make nice with this reality as the Latinos supported Obama’s immigration plans in an overwhelming manner. The polls also show that the majority of Americans also favor comprehensive immigration reform proposals that include a path to citizenship. Several immigrant advocacy groups will be closely watching the Republican candidate’s position on the immigration matters in order to share their conclusions with the public.  Although thus far, Republicans have been quite consistent on their standings so a major shift in action is not to be expected.