Will the Ghost of Ronald Reagan Save Immigration Reform?
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Will the Ghost of Ronald Reagan Save Immigration Reform?

February 3, 2013, 7:20 pm
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Last chance for the Republican Party to survive the Long Run

If Ronald Reagan were alive today, he would be disappointed in the way many republicans have handled the immigration reform debate and would probably fear the eventual demise of the Republican Party caused by the stranglehold of anti-immigrant conservatives.  Regan fundamentally saw America as a land open to immigrants that believe in the “American Dream.”  In November 1979 when announcing his candidacy for the presidency he proposed a treaty allowing for full freedom of movement for all workers throughout North America.  Even as far back as 1952 when the US immigration policy was still controlled by the very restrictive Immigration Act of 1924, Reagan gave a speech embracing nearly unlimited immigration:

“I . . . have thought of America as a place in the divine scheme of things that was set aside as a promised land . . . [A]nd the price of admission was very simple . . . Any place in the world and any person from these places; any person with the courage, with the desire to tear up their roots, to strive for freedom, to attempt and dare to live in a strange and foreign place, to travel halfway across the world was welcome here . . . I believe that God in shedding his grace on this country has always in this divine scheme of things kept an eye on our land and guided it as a promised land for these people.

It was not until the Republican leadership dismal loss in November’s election that even the thought of a comprehensive immigration would not have crossed their lip.  But following the election Republican Whip Baener, ,immediately acknowledged on Meet The Press, that the Hispanic vote was fundamental in Obama’s win and fundamentally important for Republished if they wish to regain their throne. The speaker, as do most party leaders, acknowledges the Republican party’s serious difficulties with Hispanic voters and fears making things worse by derailing an overhaul. Two of the most venomous anti-immigration Republicans in the House, Lamar Smith of Texas and Steve King of Iowa, no longer hold important committee chairmanships.

Last Monday, a bipartisan group of eight senators approved to a set of sensible principles for immigration reform. On Tuesday, President Obama traveled to Las Vegas to outline his own proposals. Mr. Obama’s speech was followed by reports that a bipartisan group of representatives in the House were working out a set of bills.

On Tuesday,  President Barack Obama threw his full support behind a comprehensive overhaul of U.S. immigration laws saying "now's the time" to replace a system he called "out of date and badly broken."

The president discussed that  three pillars of immigration reform: better enforcement of immigration laws, providing a path to citizenship for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country, and reforming the legal immigration system.

Talking at a Hispanic high school in Las Vegas, Obama said "a broad consensus is emerging" behind the issue across the country, with signs of advancement in Congress.

Lawmakers have tried this before, with no success. Efforts to overhaul the immigration system fell apart during George W. Bush’s administration and in 2010.

But predictions for the latest endeavor are considered improved. Mitt Romney’s bleak performance with Hispanic voters gave Republican legislators “a new appreciation” for change, as Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, one of the eight senators in the bipartisan group, has said.

It may not be difficult for Republicans seeking to win national and statewide elections in places where the Hispanic share of the electorate has increased. . But the main roadblock is expected to be in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where each representative has a different set of political agenda.  The obvious stumbling block is the fact that most Republicans in the House represent very conservative and overwhelmingly white constituants.

Let’s see if most republicans have woken up and smelled the coffee, otherwise they will turn their party into sour milk.

In Reagan’s farewell message to the nation he said “I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And (if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here).”

Author: Moises Apsan
Attorney with over 35 years of experience. Past president Federal Bar Association NJ Chapter (1997-2002). Offices in New York, NY, Newark, NJ. Tel: 888-460-1800 http://www.apsanlaw.com and www.drmoises.com
Apsan Law Offices
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Will the Ghost of Ronald Reagan Save Immigration Reform?
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