In the wake of the overwhelming Latino and Asian American support for President Barack Obama in the November 2012 election—support that was critical to his re-election—the political winds on immigration have shifted significantly to favor immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants living in our country. A full 71 percent of Latino voters and 73 percent of Asian American voters supported the president in the election, and poll after poll illustrates that these groups strongly opposed the “self-deportation” policies of Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and instead supported President Obama’s immigration-reform efforts. Changing demographics, especially the rapid growth of the Latino population and their power as voters, ensured that key swing states such as Florida, Colorado, and Nevada voted for the president.
In the weeks after the election, prominent conservatives “evolved” on the issue of immigration reform, including conservative pundit Sean Hannity, Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and John McCain (R-AZ), House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) summed up the Republican predicament best when he told the Washington Ideas Forum on November 15 that, “It’s really hard to get people to listen to you on economic growth, on tax rates, on health care, if they think you want to deport their grandmother.”
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