Thursday, November 8, 2012
I think there were lessons galore in Tuesday's election. I think one, though, stands out. It's time to embrace an immigration reform policy that favors more working visas and more legal, working class immigration.
For Republicans, a more moderate stance on immigration could have turned enough key swing states that the whole Presidential election could have turned the other way. Though that's arguable, as one piece says.
Cuyahoga County almost single-handily pushed President Obama over the top in Ohio. You can't spend two minutes in Cleveland, the county seat, and not sense the ethnic culture that abounds. Though most of the current residents are multi generations in the U.S., they still value their ethnic roots. An anti-immigration stance doesn't appeal to them.
Does anyone want to bet Florida turns too if the immigration issue moderates? New Mexico? Colorado? Nevada?
Secure borders for security's sake make sense, but blanket opposition to immigration reform does not. There are workforce development reasons that immigration reform makes sense, especially when a skills gap exists in this country.
Opposition to immigration reform especially doesn't make sense in the Midwest. This region has seen two generations without significant immigration and, not without coincidence, has seen two generations of population and economic decline. Immigrants start businesses and create jobs.
The economic development benefits of immigration are there too. A recent study commissioned for the St. Louis region found that income growth and job growth there would have been greater had they experienced more immigration.
This is an election lesson that can't be ignored. It's a national issue that needs to be addressed too. It's past time.