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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Immigration and Election Year Politics

As the students in my comparative immigration politics class have hopefully learned this semester, immigration politics can play an important role during presidential elections.  I have already posted about the positions taken by the Republican primary candidates, and now Devin Dwyer of ABC news has written about the Obama administration's actions taken to "soften" their immigration policy: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/02/obama-softens-immigration-policy-with-mixed-results/

As Dwyer notes, the Obama administration has said that it will refocus it's deportation efforts on criminal aliens.  However, a Syracuse University report shows that deportations have dropped, but it doesn't appear to be "better targeted toward serious criminals" (see http://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/274/) This type of report will make it hard for the administration to make a case that the policy change is having the impact it was expected to have.  It is also difficult to know if the decline in deportations will play well with Hispanic voters.  In swing states like Ohio and Colorado, the Hispanic vote may play an important role.  However, as noted by Charles Garcia in a CNN editorial (http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/10/opinion/garcia-hispanic-voters/index.html) Obama's inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and the DREAM act may ultimately hurt him in the 2012 presidential election and the decline in deportations may not make up for this. Time will tell.

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