Primaries, Immigration, and an Appetite for Change

welcome to arizonaAs the dust is settling from Tuesday’s primary elections, many politicians and pundits will try to interpret what the American public is thinking. The reactions and responses are likely to span the ideological and political scales. Whether Democrats aren’t Democratic enough, or Republicans aren’t Republican enough, or seats held by one party should be replaced by the other, one thing is clear: Americans are frustrated with their current leaders and want new representation.

Immigrant advocates will be asking themselves what role immigration played in the primaries. The fact is that the immigration issue probably played a small role, if any, in Tuesday’s elections. Quite frankly, Members don’t have much of a record on the issue for voters to base their votes on because Congress has been too scared to take on the issue and see what their constituents say about it. But the sentiments behind the immigration debate echo what we saw in the polls—the public has grown tired with inaction.

Americans are fed up—regardless of what party they affiliate with. They see the country going to hell in a handbasket and no one is doing anything about it. Other than health care, it is hard to name a single other legislative initiative from the past year. The extended and vicious health care debate deflated many hopes of Congress working together to solve any of the other real problems experienced by Americans. Rather than working together, members from both parties—as well as pundits—seem to take any opportunity to stake out their ground and distance themselves from those deemed their opposition. From oil spills to financial regulation to Supreme Court nominations, the conversation is one of political positioning rather than problem-solving.

Immigration is no different. Americans agree that the immigration system is broken and something must be done about it. For the last several years Congress has failed come up with a solution, despite the evidence that this is an important issue to their constituencies. The 2006 and 2007 battles over comprehensive immigration reform were nasty and divisive. Because Congress hasn’t acted and the problem isn’t resolving itself, some states and localities have taken action—some out of a genuine desire to fix the problem, and others to score political points. The newly passed law in Arizona and the various copycats are evidence that the states are not backing down.

michelle-waslinWhether Republican or Democrat or Independent, Americans are frustrated with Washington’s unwillingness and inability to advance a real conversation on immigration reform. Like many of the other issues facing us today, immigration is very complex and requires an honest, thoughtful debate rather than name-calling, playing politics, and demagoguery. Let’s hope that yesterday’s elections sent the message that Americans want real action.

Michele Waslin

Republished with permission from Immigration Impact.


  1. SK says

    Amnesty doesn’t work. Our country needs to strive for sustainable immigration. “Immigration reform” is a misnomer for providing amnesty to those who broke the rules to enter this country, and is specifically pushing for increasing the number of Mexican immigrants allowed into the U.S., even at the expense of citizens from other countries immigrating. I understand liberal desire to help those in need and I know it’s not considered Politically Correct to state what I’m saying here, but I do so because I believe federal policies should not encourage people to break the law. More importantly, we should always support legal immigrants over illegal aliens. And if we want to help people, why not help the poor children of Mexican citizens who don’t break the law by sneaking across the U.S. border? What makes those children less important to us than the kids of illegal aliens?

    Progressives should think carefully about why we’re so knee-jerk willing to help illegal aliens at the expense of 1) immigrants who followed the law to live here, 2) potential immigrants who are currently waiting their turn to live in this country, and 3) citizens of countries like Mexico who are just as much in need of our help as those who break the law to have babies on American soil. I submit that the harm done to our country in allowing and even encouraging illegal immigration does a disservice to all three of the above groups of law abiding people, as well as the taxpayers who have to support anchor babies to the detriment of our own neighbors who desperately need our assistance.

    Giving ANY form of amnesty will simply encourage others to break the law in the future. Legal immigrants who followed the law are given a slap in the face for their efforts. We need to clarify or revise the 14th Amendment so that non-citizens don’t use it as incentive to sneak into this country to have babies. The 14th Amendment was meant to deal with children of slaves, not to give illegal aliens the opportunity to have “anchor babies.” If and when the 14th Amendment is challenged in court, or amended so it no longer provides incentive to enter the country illegally, we’ll be able to regulate a more sustainable immigration process. If you think illegal aliens don’t take the good jobs, talk to professional carpenters who pay union fees and should be making $30-50/hour for their work, but instead have to compete with a pool of people willing to work for $6-10/hr under the table. A lot of that money is sent back out of the country instead of being spent here. Not only does this force our skilled builders to work under the table or to leave the trade, it also allows those property development investors and employers to not pay employee taxes, social security, workers comp, etc.

    Meanwhile, the rest of us have to foot the bill by paying more taxes and higher fees and co-pays for health care while rich people rake in the profits by hiring illegal aliens. Progressives should stop pushing for amnesty and develop reasonable solutions to the problem of illegal immigration. Think how far our money would go if we spent in helping the poor in Mexico grow food to feed their families, instead of spending it on medical care, housing, food stamps and social services for those who come to this country illegally. C’mon progressives, use your brains. Have a heart for those who haven’t snuck into this country.


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