At the end of this month, the Houses will go into session and immigration reform is likely to be high on the agenda. Late in 2012, we heard new discussions on the DREAM Act, Green Cards for highly-skilled immigrants and the economic benefits of immigration.
The shifting demographics that helped President Obama win reelection have proven to be of huge influence. In the 2012 presidential election, the Latino community made up 10 percent of the electorate for the first time ever, and 71 percent of the vote went to Obama. Romney received 27 percent of the vote, which was lower than what Republican candidates have received in the last three elections.
The problems with immigration have long-needed to improve:
- The current immigration system often makes it very hard for people to acquire proper documentation and therefore contributes to illegal immigration. A change in immigration laws could help ensure more people file their immigration paperwork that grants them legal right to live and work in the U.S.
- Immigrants contribute a great deal to the U.S. economy: some with cheap labor and some with their dedication to education, self-improvement and entrepreneurship. A change in immigration laws could help improve the economy.
- Deportations destroy families by causing them to separate and give up the living conditions they have worked hard to keep for years. A change in immigration laws could help keep families together and communities stable.
Both Democrats and Republicans understand the need for a bipartisan bill in 2013 because both seek the growing Latino vote. But no matter the reason why there needs to be an agreement on immigration reform, all signs say this year will bring a lot of debate.