Exit polling from Tuesday’s presidential election is offering new hope to activists advocating for comprehensive immigration reform. The Latino community was instrumental in reelecting President Barack Obama, as record numbers turned out to vote and supported the president by over 70 percent. These numbers send a clear message to opponents of immigration reform that demonizing immigrants and blocking progress makes for a poor political strategy.
Pundits are opining that Congress may be more willing to discuss comprehensive reform, a promise President Obama made but has been slow in fulfilling due to congressional opposition. Indeed, republican leaders in Congress have already been altering their positions.
A recent article in Politico features Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, a candidate for chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, stating: “It’s clear to me, if republicans are going to have the opportunity to be in the majority, we clearly have to determine how we deal with minority and Latino voters. In some fashion, the way we have dealt with immigration gives us a black eye. And we need to figure out how to talk about issues and pursue policies that matter to Latino, Hispanic voters.”
Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner told ABC in a recent interview that on immigration policy a “comprehensive approach is long overdue.”
On Tuesday, Latino voters made their voice heard, giving a clear mandate for elected officials to put aside the partisan bickering and find a path forward on immigration reform. For undocumented immigrants whose hope may have faded in recent years, it may be a new day in Washington.
Janelle Tupper is campaigns assistant for Sojourners.