What the Election Means for Immigration Reform

While the GOP won gubernatorial elections in the states of New Jersey and Virginia, there was no second Republican wet-dream ‘Contract with America.’ Voters seemed mostly uninspired and voted against incumbents for the most part.

The gubernatorial elections do not bring good news for immigration reforms in those states. Virginia is among the top 10 states with new residents. The winner Bob McDonell is the grandson of an Irish immigrant but wants to extend 287g across the state and enable state troopers to enforce immigration laws.

In New Jersey, passing a much-needed instate-tuition bill for undocumented students as part of the recommendations of the Corzine blue ribbon commission is about to get harder with the election of Chris Christie since he opposes the legislation. But both Governor Corzine and Christie oppose granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.  They also expressed reservations for local enforcement of federal immigration laws and looked to federal government for direction on immigration.

After all, the votes for immigration reform won’t come from Governors. Democrats won the two House seats up for grabs, wrestling a little more power from the bluedogs and making immigration reform a bit easier in the House of Representatives.

The NY-23 historic Democrat win proved once again that tea-baggers are toxic to conservatism. Conservative Republican Doug Hoffman appeared on Glenn Beck and spoken out against ‘amnesty’ prior to the elections. Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh et. al should take their bandwagon all over the country to ‘fire up their base’ given they were able to turn out a truly historic loss for Hoffman. William Gheen is certainly keen on using tea-baggers to promote his anti-immigrant cause.

In California, most candidates running for the CA-10 seat vacated by Ellen Tauscher had pledged their support for immigration reform earlier this year during a forum at Saint Mary’s College. Lt Gov John Garamendi winning the seat came as no surprise. That is one more vote, possibly two if we count NY-23, for the DREAM Act and immigration reform in the House.

The overall message to Democrats and President Obama is to inspire voters to get to the polls. Voters are clearly not inspired by consensus-building and lip-service. Almost nothing on the agenda would drive more Latinos and other immigrant communities to the polls better than a health care reform with public option this year and immigration reform with pathway to citizenship early next year.

(Photo Credit: Queen of Subtle on Flickr)

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