Alex Nowrasteh, an Immigration Policy Analyst for the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, recently posted an optimistic article in the Huffington Post entitled “Immigration is Delayed, Not Dead.”
Nowrasteh presents compelling evidence for optimism in the current political maelstrom that is immigration reform. He cites both ideology and political self-interest as reasoning behind the Republican House’s motivation to pass immigration reform in 2014.
Ideology is extremely important when examined critically. First, Republicans aim to support free-market economies and oppose big government, which, according to Norasteh, is a direct contradiction to their lack of support for immigration reform. Without immigrants to continue working, the free market economy stalls, and big government has no choice but to intervene and support those who cannot support themselves.
In support of this idea, Nowrasteh states, “Free-markets require mobility of workers that can move to economic opportunities, but government immigration regulations hinder that. Workers are a huge part of our economy and immigration reform will, to a small but important degree, free up that market to our economy’s benefit.”
By providing economic benefit, there should be no qualms for immigration reform, right? Wrong. Political self-interest, according to the author, plays a large part in anti-immigration debate, too. Whether we like it or not, this nation was, and continues to be, built by immigrants. Republicans who oppose immigration reform do not have the greatest footing amongst the large immigrant population in the United States, obviously.
Nowrasteh cites New Jersey and Virginia’s gubernatorial races as evidence for his claim. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a supporter of immigration reform, won a landslide victory in the state with 51% of the Hispanic vote. Yet, Rep. Ken Cuccinelli, who lost his race for Governor of Virginia, a vehement opposer of immigration reform, only received 29% of the Hispanic vote in his home state.
These numerical values may not seem like much, but in the world of politics it is imperative that candidates recognize their constituency. According to Nowrasteh, “There are 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States who will not give up asking for legal status.” Meaning, these people will not give up their U.S.-born children, families and jobs on fear of deportation. Immigration reform can, and will happen, if the opposition simply re-evaluates their perspective.