Republicans adjust priorities for immigration reform

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are changing their views on the urgency of immigration reform amidst an onslaught of public criticism from Hispanic advocacy organizations, religious leaders and other public figures. Although the struggle for comprehensive immigration reform is far from over, a lot of people have become aware of the issue and have made it their personal mission to see that new, better laws concerning undocumented immigrants are created.

Some representatives are even being specifically targeted for their stance against immigration reform. The pro-immigration reform group FWD.us, which is sponsored by Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the social media platform Facebook, is set to air a series of campaign ads focused on Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. King is a staunch opponent of the ENLIST Act, a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to serve in the U.S. military. Their service would award them citizenship. King believes the U.S. would not benefit from Congress passing the bill.

“I don’t think you reward people for breaking the law,” King said in an interview with Breitbart News. “That’s why I stand against this … we’re acting like somehow we have to have mercenaries in our military because somehow we couldn’t fill the ranks of an adequate military with Americans or legal immigrants that are, of course, by definition also Americans. It’s wrong-headed thinking.”

Campaign ads against representatives like King put the pressure on Republicans to act on immigration reform. However, there are also conservative  representatives who believe some of the steps taken toward helping undocumented immigrants are misguided. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, and Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Illinois, argue that President Barack Obama’s plan to use his executive powers to limit deportations oversteps the boundaries of presidential authority.

Pro-reform advocates continue to patiently wait for the president to make his decision, while hoping that the House of Representatives will follow through with their promises to bring up the issue of immigration reform before the year ends.