Immigration Reform: Taking the Long View
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The "small window that is closing fast” for immigration
reform slammed shut in November, at least for the time being.
When finger pointing began in mid-November over why immigration
reform failed, not only between Democrats and Republicans, but also within Democratic and Republican circles,
it was clear that the window had been "nailed shut,” as ANLA’s Craig
Regelbrugge put it.
But, while the time for immigration reform may not be this
year, or even next, the forces driving immigration reform in Congress are
inexorable. It’s just a matter of when those forces will reach a tipping point.
Why is immigration reform inevitable? Several reasons.
Demographics - The
Hispanic population in the U.S. is growing, both in raw numbers and
proportionally. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the Hispanic pollution
has grown from 15 million to 52 million between 1980 and 2011.
Further, while the largest numbers of Hispanics are in the
West and Florida, all regions of the country are seeing increases in their Hispanic
populations. Hispanics are gaining political power in the fastest growing, most
populous parts of the country.
Activism of the non-agriculture
business community - Businesses are finding labor shortages at both ends of
the workforce spectrum. Not only is agriculture finding it necessary to hire
immigrant labor, but technology firms, like Facebook and Google, are experiencing
shortages in tech workers as well.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has become a spokesman for technology
firms, spending time in Washington lobbying for immigration reform. Zuckerberg
calls immigration reform the "'biggest civil rights issue of our time.”
Public opinion - Public
opinion is moving steadily toward comprehensive immigration reform. A series of
recent national polls found that between 63% and 73% of those surveyed would
support an immigration bill that included a pathway to citizenship for those
Those in Congress can only ignore public opinion for so
We are approaching a tipping point, and when that time
comes, things will move quickly. It may be next year, or as long as 2017, but
the time for immigration reform will come certainly within the next five years.