Naive Dream Act Activists Should Not Ask Rep. Nancy Pelosi to Pull Partisan Immigration Card PrematurelyWednesday, October 9th, 2013
Naive Dream Act activists should avoid asking Rep. Nancy Pelosi to pull a partisan comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) card until all bipartisanship means have been exhausted. It is important to foster a bipartisanship spirit first and avoiding premature moves that will only anger Republican leadership and GOP votes we need in order for CIR to progress. We cannot get past the government shutdown yet and the last thing we need to do is start the CIR conversations on the wrong foot — particularly with a looming Oct. 17 debt ceiling deadline when the Treasury says the government will be in danger of defaulting on its obligations.
A discharge petition move like this signals a cute procedural gimmick essentially indicating party leaders are unable to sit down together and work out their differences. Reasonable GOPers acting behind the scenes are not going to throw Boehner under the bus so early in the CIR game.
What made the Senate Immigration reform bill successful was it was supported in a bipartisan fashion. We had Republican Sens. John McCain, Jeff Flake and Marco Rubio who supported fixing the clearly broken system. Most importantly, it is important for Dream Act activists to understand one thing: Democratic Congressmen and women are not in control of the House of Representatives. Republicans own the House.
And while students and youth in support of DREAM Act and Immigration Reform are trying to encourage Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Xavier Becerra to facilitate a discharge petition right now, it will only be met with premature anger particularly when there is a substantial threat that the United States might refuse to pay the debts. This is why we witnessed Republican Senator John McCain refusing to support a government shutdown Tea Party Sen. Ted Cruz was advocating for.
As such, and in order to see progress of CIR at the Republican-led House of Representatives level and to also satisfy the proactive attempt by DREAMers with a discharge petition idea, we might suggest they begin micro-targeting vulnerable Republicans with a high Mexican-American/Latino population. A discharge petition should be used as a last resort in light of the impending debt talks.
We ought to work smarter — not harder.
Latino Decisions has identified 44 GOP-held House seats in which Latino voters could influence the outcome of elections in 2014 and beyond. This includes districts where the Latino voting-age population exceeds the 2012 margin of victory or swing districts won in 2012 by President Obama and the House Republican candidate that also have notable Latino populations. If the GOP loses just 17 seats in 2014, the Democrats will regain majority control.
While Latino Decisions has identified 44 GOP-held House seats we can influence, twelve of the 23 members live in districts where Hispanics make up more than 10 percent of the voting age population according to a chart below:
Those members are California Reps. Jeff Denham, David Valadao, Buck McKeon, Gary Miller, Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, Florida Reps. Dan Webster, Mario Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, New Mexico Rep. Steve Pearce, Nevada Rep. Joe Heck, and New York Reps. Peter King and Michael Grimm.