Open Letter #51 To President Obama – Immigration Reform Now!

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Nov. 1, 2013: Dear Mr. President,
John Boehner spent Halloween it seems scaring up his few constituents and fans with a tweet that claimed your health care promise “stretched credulity.” In fact, while several people were being arrested in New York on October 29th in a civil disobedience exercise urging him to bring an immigration reform bill to the floor for a vote, and 300 conservatives from around the country lobbied for passage of the measure, Boenher spent between October 24th and 31st focused on “ObamaCare” on his website postings.

Why? Guess Boehner like many in his party, refuses to face reality. His party’s likeability is at an all time low because of him and the failed government shutdown, and now the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, conducted October 17-23, says the public paid more attention in October to the political fights over the shutdown and raising the debt ceiling more than to the technical problems with the opening of the online federal health insurance exchange created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Further, a solid majority of the public, (60 percent), say they oppose the idea of cutting off funding as a way to stop the law from being implemented, and a higher share would like to see Congress expand the law or keep it as is (47 percent) rather than repeal it (37 percent).

Compare this to a CBS News Poll which found recently that 77 percent of Americans favor a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the U.S. if they met certain requirements including a waiting period, paid fines and back taxes, passed criminal background checks, and learn English; compared to just 20 percent who oppose this.

Further, the New Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll of eight congressional districts, commissioned by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), show that Republican House members can begin to rebuild the damage to their popularity caused by the government shutdown, if they vote for commonsense immigration reform.
The districts polled were those of Representatives Gary Miller (CA-31), John Kline (MN-2), David Joyce (OH-14), Joe Heck (NV-3), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Mike Grimm (NY-11), Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2) and Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8). At least 65% of voters in all of these districts support immigration reform, with more than 70% support in MN-2 (78%), PA-8 (77%), OH-14 (76%), NY-11 (72%), and NJ-2 (71%).

At least 60% of independents in every district support immigration reform, the poll found, as do a majority of Republicans in each of them.

Most notably, voters made it clear in each of these districts that they’ll be more likely to vote to reelect their Congressmen next year if they vote for immigration reform. In 7 out of the 8 districts, including all of the ones where the incumbent Republican trails a generic Democrat, voters say by a double digit margin that they’d be more likely to reelect their member next year if they vote for immigration reform. The numbers are particularly telling in PA-8 (a 25 point boost), MN-2 (a 22 point boost), NY-11 (a 21 point boost), and NJ-2 (a 16 point boost.)

As SEIU Executive Vice President Rocio Saenz put it: “Speaker Boehner, by siding with extremists in his party and refusing to schedule a vote on immigration, is putting at risk members of his caucus who could otherwise side with their constituents and vote for immigration reform.”

The reality is more and more Republicans, fearing they could lose their seat next year are crossing the line and supporting the measure. Kudos to Rep. Jeff Denham and Reps. Joe Heck and David Valadao, all Republicans, for being sane in the madhouse that is the GOP caucus. They must be used to push their other colleagues and Boehner to deliver a Christmas gift for immigrants and bring a comprehensive immigration bill to a vote without the Hastert rule.


Felicia Persaud.

The writer is CMO of Hard Beat Communications, which owns the brands NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Invest Caribbean Now.