The 2012 election put the spotlight on immigration reform. The candidates’ contrasting positions on immigration policy was highlighted throughout the presidential campaigns and the results of the Presidential Election have been attributed in part to how those positions influenced voter turnout and the margin in favor of President Obama. In the wake of the election, many are waiting to see whether immigration reform will remain a priority of the White House and a commitment of Congress.
There are early signs that although the “fiscal cliff” is the immediate priority, immigration reform remains a key issue to be tackled in the coming months. At a news conference the week after the election, President Obama said he expects Congress to propose a comprehensive immigration reform bill in early 2013. There have also been encouraging signs that Congress is committed to taking action on meaningful immigration reform. A day after the election, Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (R) told ABC News that he was confident Congress could work with the White House on a comprehensive immigration solution. An encouraging sign that needed bipartisanship for immigration reform may be present also include post-election statements from top Republicans affirming that the party needs to move forward on immigration reform.
Taking a cue from poll results collected a day after the election that showed majority support for immigration reform, including wanting to see undocumented people in the United States provided with a “path to citizenship,” is a smart move for both parties. But while the reality of votes and election demographics is undoubtedly a significant motivator for bipartisanship on immigration reform, both parties’ ideological underpinnings provide independent reasons to enact reform. Now, we all hold our breathe to see if, and how, the two parties will work out a compromise in 2013 that repairs our broken immigration system.