Letter No. 30: Immigration reform now! (36101)

Dear Mr. President,

Now that it’s clear that the immigrant vote in urban America helped you secure another four terms in the White House, I hope that you will finally get down to making immigration reform a priority and finally deliver on change we can believe in on this issue. I intend to write these letters weekly until you do!

In case you missed it, the national exit poll data says it loud and clear: 93 percent of the Black immigrant votes went for you, along with 73 percent of the votes of Asian Americans and 71 percent of Latinos.

Further, exit polls indicated that Hispanic voters favored you this year by a whopping 40 points–69 percent to 29 percent–an increase of four points over the advantage you had among this demographic four years ago. And while white turnout fell this year as a percentage of total voters, Hispanic turnout ticked up, from 9 to 10 percent.

Many of these immigrant voters polled said they were “more enthusiastic” about you over rival Mitt Romney because of your very smart June decision to temporarily suspend the deportations of young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents, so-called “deferred action.” Meaning they forgave your decision in the past three years to try to appease the right-wing by deporting more immigrants than any other U.S. president.

Now these immigrant voters need a return on their investment. That is, to quickly make immigration reform among the top legislative priorities for your next term–after jobs and fiscal and budgetary issues, of course!

Listen to Rep. Luis Gutierrez’s advice and “call Republicans and Democrats to the White House who want to chart a reasonable course forward on immigration.” The selling point–now that you have the political capital for the next four years–has to be the economics of immigration reform and not amnesty!

The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that, as originally introduced on April 7, 2006, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 would have generated $66 billion in new revenue during 2007-2016 from income and payroll taxes, as well as various administrative fees. This additional revenue would have more than offset the $54 billion in new “direct spending” during 2007-2016 for refundable tax credits, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and food stamps for newly eligible immigrants and their families.

Meanwhile, a 2010 study by Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, conducted for the Immigration Policy Center and the Center for American Progress, estimated that immigration reform, which includes legalization of unauthorized immigrants and the creation of more flexible channels for legal immigration in the future, would add at least $1.5 trillion in cumulative U.S. Gross Domestic Product over 10 years.

Mr. President, those are your selling points!

As for those pesky Republicans who still don’t get it, tell them they better get in line now that the immigrant vote flushed them and their anti-immigrant Kool-Aid. Now it’s time to remember your promise and deliver immigration reform “next year.” Let’s get to work!


Felicia Persaud

The writer is founder of NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat Communications.