Stephen Yale-Loehr, immigration law expert and professor of law at Cornell University, discusses the tough choices facing the House of Representatives as its leadership discusses immigration reform today.
“Republicans in the House of Representatives face a tough choice today when they hold an internal meeting to gauge their views on immigration reform.
“Only 16 percent of House Republicans represent districts in which Latinos account for 20 percent or more of the population. So most House Republicans don’t see a need to vote for immigration reform. If they do vote for immigration reform, they may face a primary challenge from a conservative angry over amnesty.
“In the short term, to stay elected, many House Republicans may decide to shy away from immigration reform. For their long-term national strategy, Republicans would be better off passing immigration reform and vying for the hearts and minds of the new voters it would create.
“A lot may depend on grassroots efforts. If evangelicals buttonhole Republicans and say, ‘Immigration reform is important to us as a moral matter,’ or if employers say they really need immigration reform because they can’t find enough qualified U.S. workers, lawmakers may decide to vote for reform even though other constituents oppose it.”
NOTE: For a more detailed analysis of two parts of comprehensive immigration reform, see Chris Gafner & Stephen Yale-Loehr, “Attracting the Best and the Brightest: A Critique of the Current U.S. Immigration System,” 38 Fordham Urban Law Journal 183 (2010); Demetrios Papademetriou & Stephen Yale-Loehr, “Balancing Interests: Rethinking U.S. Selection of Skilled Immigrants” (1996).”