Over the past few months, immigration reform has been a hot- button issue.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a presidential hopeful for 2016, has proposed a reform plan, which is divided into four aspects.
Two areas Rubio addresses are increasing the visa cap on professionals as well as on seasonal and permanent workers. This plan also includes a pathway to citizenship and workplace enforcement.
While the reform plan may seem to be a progressive step, the details indicate that on the path to citizenship the road will not be entirely smooth.
This plan would be roughly a 13-year process, starting with money being put forward to get on this pathway, which includes background checks and a 10-year Green Card stipulation.
While the plan offers fast routes for those eligible for the DREAM Act along with agricultural workers, for others this timeline could potentially dissuade individuals from pursuing citizenship due to the long process. Political Science Professor Bradley Hays offered some insight into this plan, deeming it “a constructive first step.”
As future (or current) job seekers, one concern with this plan is that Americans would be losing jobs to immigrants.
To debunk this idea, Hays reminds us that this is not necessarily new competition, since these individuals have already been living and working in the country illegally.
The plan would legitimize their employment which in many cases are in jobs that Americans will not take.
For the Republican Party, this plan could have two consequences.
Either Rubio will firmly establish his position in the party by getting this bill through, or the bill will not pass, and Rubio’s reputation may suffer and his hopes for the coming presidential election may be tarnished.
The Republican Party has become, to a degree, detached from the Hispanic community.
This sentiment was explicitly shown in voting breakdowns, in which the majority of Hispanics voted for Obama.
If the party wants to regain strength, it is essential that they broaden and diversify their voter base.
In light of the recent ruling against gun policy reform, in which the Republicans were seen by many to be acting against the will of the people and were responsible for the bill not passing, the immigration reform proposal is in a precarious position.
While Rubio’s plan has immediate implications on his political future, those that would be affected by this bill would not feel its influence for decades.