Immigration Reform and the Jobs Dilemma

by Brendan Walsh

Photo by  Anuska Sampedro Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by Anuska Sampedro Flickr Creative Commons

Having flexed their muscle in November’s elections, Latino voters momentarily had Republican elected officials, especially in Arizona, falling over themselves in an effort to appear more friendly to the state’s Hispanic communities. Infamous sheriff Joe Arpaio, when announcing his intention to run for reelection in 2016, made an effort to reach out to Latinos in Maricopa County. Five days after the election, Governor Brewer announced that she was “fine and dandy” with the idea of immigration reform (before quickly backtracking). And Senator John McCain told Fox news that, in order to create a “bigger tent,” Republicans “have to do immigration reform.”

These remarkable developments had many advocates of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) feeling as if the wind is at our backs, and that CIR will finally be a reality in 2013. Those advocates, however, would be wise to keep in mind, especially now, the fact that the fight for immigrants’ rights in the United States involves addressing the continued consolidation of corporate power in this country, and won’t be won simply by leveraging the minimum number of congressional votes for a least-common-denominator CIR package. Nor will it be won without a significant change in our public discourse about jobs.

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