Immigration reform may not be the top issue on voters’ minds as Congress goes into recess (frankly, most voters aren’t concerned about politics at all in August). But that is not to say it won’t be a topic as congressmen make their way around their districts. Two significant developments will keep the pressure on the House to act.
First, the American Action Network — among the most forceful pro-reform conservative groups — announced today that it will be “launching the Conservative Immigration Support Network, an August initiative delivering positive and supportive messages to House Republicans to continue tackling immigration
reform. The initiative includes a new $250,000 grasstops program engaging key local leaders, mobilizing our existing grassroots network, and releasing district-by-district studies on the economic impact of immigration reform.”
A person familiar with the AAN game plan described the “grasstops” effort as a way to recruit influential voices — clergy, local elected officials, business leaders, farmers, etc. — to make the case in districts that House members deserve some time and space to come up with their own immigration bill. AAN says it will be active in 20 districts in 10 states. The message is that the Senate bill won’t cut it, but the House has to act. (“We support the House’s effort to deal with immigration reform in a methodical step-by-step conservative way. We need to give Congress the space to offer conservative and responsible solutions.”) The goal is not to save face for the Senate, but to get a bill (or series of bills) through the House.
The Wall Street Journal reports on the other significant development:
On Wednesday, a group of Asians said they would kick off a national tour to raise the “Asian collective voice” for a comprehensive immigration overhaul. During stops in Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles and six other cities, the immigrants will meet with community leaders and visit local congressional offices.
“Asians are not only more present, they are also playing an important role,” said Gaby Pacheco, an activist and director of Bridge Project, a national undocumented-immigrant group.
This is an important reminder for Republicans, who seem to think immigration is only about Hispanic voters. Republicans are losing the Asian vote (in the past, they got large majorities of Asian voters) by huge numbers; immigration is one of the reasons. The message that we don’t want immigrants or can’t accommodate those striving to attain the American dream is killing the GOP with Asians.
In short, if immigration reform remains alive going into the fall, reform supporters are optimistic that the House will act. What they come up with, of course, remains an open question.