Immigration Reform Republicans Face Re-election

Some Republicans stand ready to negotiate with Democrats and settle on a bi-partisan reformation of U.S. immigration law. However, this compromising attitude is in peril, as the prospect of a re-election could replace these Republicans with more conservative members less willing to negotiate on the issue.

These same compromising Republicans face the peril of being replaced simply for their party lines. 27.3 million Latinos are qualified to vote in this year’s election, according to the Pew Research Center, constituting a record 11.9 percent of eligible voters. Latino organizations have been focused on encouraging turnout in a year some speculate could make Hispanic voters an electoral heavyweight for years to come.

This shift on its own has lead Republican Congress members to change their points of view just to survive in office. Representative Mike Coffman of Colorado, for example, voted in his first term against a bill to create a path to legalization for young people who came to the United States as children. But when his constituency shifted from one in ten Latino residents to one in five, he quickly shifted positions and is now one of at least a dozen Republicans pushing for broad immigration legislation as soon as next year.

Coffman and the other Republicans may not get a next year, since voters would inevitably relate these more moderate Republicans with Donald Trump.

Representative Robert J. Dold, a Republican also taking part in the reforming group, represents a heavily Democratic district in Illinois with 59,000 voting Latinos making up 11.2 percent of the electorate – not an insignificant number considering Dold defeated the Democratic contender by a margin of 5,000 votes, when Latinos only casted 13,500 votes.

Dold, along with other Republican representatives, rebuked and distanced themselves from Trump and his extremist speech. Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, sees the fact that even Trump’s own party will recoil from his policies and statements as a positive, and attributes this call for compromise mainly to Trump’s polarizing power.