For all the opposition that the GOP has waged against the proposed immigration policy of President Obama and the Democrats, the issue isn’t likely to be a dominant part of the Republican agenda should they make huge congressional gains in a little more than a week. This is not to say that the party has ignored the issue completely in their anticipated comeback. In their Pledge to America, the document the party claims will be the guide of their agenda, immigration policy takes up one point under which are three sub points. Simply stated, “We will protect our homeland and support our allies with a plan to:
- Establish operational control of the border
- Work with state and local officials to enforce our immigration laws
- Strengthen visa security”
Other than providing a brief framework for enforcing the nation’s immigration laws, there doesn’t appear to be any concrete legislation that lays out how this goal will be accomplished by the party. With a presidential administration vehemently opposed to immigration laws fashioned in the likeness of Arizona, there really isn’t much that a Republican-controlled Congress could do to enforce a conservative immigration policy. All that it could do is put a nail in the coffin of an overtly liberal immigration bill. For Republicans, here’s also to hoping that such a bill wouldn’t be passed during a lame duck session of Congress.
Another compelling reason why immigration reform will likely not be seen at the top of the Republican to-do list at this time is because of the Tea Party. Assuming that the Republicans adhere to constitutional principles as promised, they will likely begin work in executing the “repeal and replace” of Obama’s healthcare bill, defunding it with the power they have over the purse. They would also use their increased clout in Congress to put even more pressure on the President to answer the question of a weak economy. With these issues first and foremost on the minds of most voters, it’s probably wise that the Republicans aren’t pushing an immigration plan of their own at this point. Immigration, by far, falls behind in importance in relation to the weak economy and high unemployment.
Eventually, however, immigration reform will creep back to the surface, and the Republicans will have to be ready with a winning message that pushes back rhetoric labeling them as having no plan and as anti-immigrant. They will have to eventually address it with the awareness that it is still an important issue to their Tea Party constituents.
Ultimately, to make gains with Hispanic voters, the conservative party must cast off the stigma of being anti-Hispanic. Instead, it must frame a message that shows the conservative agenda is in the best interests of the traditional values of Hispanics and other immigrant groups. Immigrants in general are not people who want to take over the United States just to plunder the welfare system. They come here for the opportunity that this land offers. By pitching this, Republicans could make inroads with immigrant people groups.