What to Watch for in Immigration - Week of March 10, 2014

Here's a look at some hot topics in immigration heading into this week:

Can the GOP neutralize immigration as an election issue?  As the last presidential election demonstrated, the GOP is doing really bad among supporters of immigration reform and immigrant communities.  Actually, "really bad" doesn't even come close to describing how badly Republicans are doing with the aforementioned demographics.  Republicans aren't even competing for votes from these demographics.  That may not matter though.  With the upcoming congressional elections, experts estimate that almost all Republican incumbents represent districts with a relatively low number of immigrants.  If that's the case, those candidates stand to lose more from supporting immigration reform than from supporting it. Even so, a hard-line approach such as that espoused by many within the GOP may wreak havoc for GOP candidates in future presidential elections and in more diverse districts.  As immigration continues to change the U.S., the GOP needs to come to terms with this issue. It may already be too late...

South Carolina gets smart.  South Carolina has long had a reputation of being a fiery, swim against the current, state.  Back in the days of President Andrew Jackson, the state was one of the first in American history to threaten secession, 30 years before the Civil War.  Of course, South Carolina was the first state to secede from the United States in 1860.  In the Battle of Fort Sumter, South Carolina was the first Confederate state to attach the U.S. military. In the century plus that followed, has been no stranger to controversy, from flying the confederate flag over the state capitol building to protesting the Affordable Care Act, i.e., Obamacare, to immigration.  However, last week, South Carolina stepped back; abandoning key parts of a harsh, Alabama-style anti-immigration law.  This should be a major setback for proponents of such laws.  If South Carolina won't even move forward with, who will?

Are Hispanics turning against Obama?  A recent t.v. appearance by President Obama to encourage Hispanics to sign up for health insurance benefits under the Affordable Care Act quickly changed topic - to immigration reform.  President Obama was accused of allowing his reputation to become tarnished by deporting more than 2 million immigrants, more than any other president.  His appearance followed an event where the National Council of La Raza, once a major supporter of the president, labeled him "the deporter in chief."  While President Obama cannot run for a third term, such reaction among immigrant communities should cause Democrats to wonder how long they can continue to pay lip service to immigration reform without actually doing something about it.

The Supreme Court declines option to hear immigration cases.  The Supreme Court declined to hear appeals by the towns of Farmers Branch, TX and Hazleton, PA where ordinances from both towns penalized landlords from renting to undocumented aliens.  The Supreme Court's decision effectively nullifies such ordinances, as they were struck down by the Federal Circuit Courts last hearing the cases.


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