With both presidential candidates courting the Latino vote, I was pretty disappointed that immigration was not discussed during the first debate. Hopefully in the debate tomorrow, both candidates will speak in detail about their plans to achieve comprehensive immigration reform.
The past couple of years have seen an unprecedented polarization of the immigration debate in the U.S. Since January 2010, six states have passed anti-immigrant laws, most notably Arizona and Alabama. The DREAM Act was killed in the Senate. The U.S. Supreme Court took on Arizona’s SB 1070 law and effectively rubber stamped its “papers, please” provision. Some good news though: President Obama initiated Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program designed to save DREAMers from deportation until a permanent solution can be passed in Congress.
None of those topics were even mentioned in the first debate, although we live in a country where 11.5 million people live without status, trying to make the best of the American dream for themselves and their families, all the while remaining in the shadows.
There are only two more presidential debates. Tomorrow night’s debate is about domestic and foreign policy, and the last one is exclusively for foreign policy. That means there’s only one more opportunity for the candidates to discuss the differences in their respective immigration policies (and there are many, many differences). One opportunity for President Obama to outline how he’ll reform our immigration system in a second term. One opportunity for Mr. Romney to tell us what he really plans to do to replace DACA, and what his own plan for immigration reform is—if anything.
Let’s hope both candidates make the most of this one opportunity.
Written by Michael Saldarriaga