Title

The Third Rail of U.S. Politics: The Current Immigration Debate in the United States

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2011

Abstract

There are an estimated 15 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. At 16 percent of the nation’s population, Hispanics are the largest ethnic minority in the United States and are believed to make up the majority of undocumented immigrants in the country. The lack of a cohesive and workable federal response to undocumented immigration has left a political and security vacuum, which state and local governments have increasingly filled. These responses may run counter to the U.S. Constitution and the fundamental rights of U.S. citizens, let alone immigrants. Comprehensive immigration reform has become the third rail of U.S. politics and with the losses in the House of Representatives by the Democratic Party in the last November elections, such bold new approaches to the increasing problem of illegal immigration are unlikely to move forward. Instead, exclusionary proposals like amending the Fourteen Amendment, relating to birthright citizenship, and local initiatives like the so-called Arizona Law and the Senate Bill 1070 (SB 1070) will be in the offering. The lack of leadership in Washington D.C. on comprehensive immigration reform is fast destroying the gains that the Latino community has earned and their support for president Obama. Senate Bill 1070 is not only about illegal immigrants but also calls into question America’s so-called "post racial society."