With the 2012 Presidential Election firmly on the horizon, President Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney face a tough few months of campaigning on a variety of issues. However, a series of events regarding US immigration legislation have brought the issue to forefront of American politics and currently looks set to be the deciding issue in the race for the Whitehouse.
The presidential election has traditionally depended on the outcome of a few states, known as swing states. While the majority of other states have voted relatively consistently throughout recent years, states such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania are harder to predict and could go either way depending on the candidates and their policies and promises.
The 2012 election is predicted to hinge upon the Hispanic vote, the fastest growing demographic in the country, as the population is strongly distributed throughout several swing states therefore both candidates are eagre to secure their vote.
Polls have consistently shown that while Hispanic voters have significant ties to Central and South America, making immigration predictably an important issue, the economy remains the most important.
While the country's economy continues its slow crawl towards recovery, the contenders' credentials for righting the ship have come under the microscope; Barack Obama has focussed on his achievements during his first term while Mitt Romney has relied on his business expertise and record as Governor of Massachusetts.
With a net worth of approximately $200 million (£130 million) Mr Romney has concentrated on his business prowess in an effort to appeal to Hispanic voters, claiming he possesses the capabilities to repair the economy.
The president's standing among Hispanic voters was also considered to be severely damaged due to his inability to secure the comprehensive immigration reform he promised during his 2008 win combined with his administration's record levels of deportations.
However, a series of events over the past two weeks has proved how unpredictable an election year can be.
Earlier this month President Obama used his executive powers to put a halt to all deportations of illegal immigrants who fit certain criteria. The move is highly controversial yet many Republicans have been left wary of openly denouncing the order...read more.
President Obama's directive to immediately halt the deportation of illegal immigrants under the age of 30 has shaken up the American political landscape and brought US immigration to the very forefront of the race to the Whitehouse...read more.
President Obama's executive order has strengthened his position among the crucial Hispanic demographic, independent polls show...read more.
The US Supreme Court has finally passed its judgement on the controversial case of Arizona's SB 1070 law in a ruling which looks set to have serious ramifications on American life and politics, particularly the presidential election...read more.
Executive order stumps Republicans
President Obama's directive left
Republicans in a tricky situation.
Earlier this month President Obama used his executive powers to put a halt to all deportations of illegal immigrants who fit certain criteria. The move is highly controversial yet many Republicans have been left wary of openly denouncing the order.
The executive order stipulates that any illegal immigrant under the age of 30 who was brought to the country before they were 16, has no criminal record and has either graduated college or served in the military be granted a working US visa instead of a deportation order.
Government estimates put the number of people likely to be directly affected at 800,000 although a Pew Hispanic Centre study put the number as high as 1.3 million people.
While the people it will directly affect will be unable to vote in November's presidential election, the move has been praised by Democrats and Hispanics.
However, Republicans have traditionally opposed immigration legislation which grants anyone who entered the country illegally permission to stay, and therefore have been wary of the expected response.
This is in large part due to the upcoming election and the ability of the GOP to attract a significant proportion of votes from the Hispanic demographic. Openly opposing the president's order could have disastrous consequences for a party which is predicted to need at least 40% of the growing demographic to remain competitive.
Yet this doesn't lead to an obvious answer of supporting the order either; the GOP's base is centred on conservative white voters who typically support the party's strict border control and tough immigration measures. While coming out and supporting the president's directive is unlikely to sway any Republican voters to the Democrats, it could mean many simply don't turn out, and in an election when the Republicans, particularly presidential nominee Mitt Romney, is going to need every vote from his base, this isn't an option either.
It meant many Republicans tread a delicate line this week, with many opposing views and many questions dodged, to read the full story, click here.
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Immigration pushed front and centre in presidential race
The battle for the White House
could hinge on immigration.
President Obama's directive to immediately halt the deportation of illegal immigrants under the age of 30 has shaken up the American political landscape and brought US immigration to the very forefront of the race to the Whitehouse.
President Obama last week issued an executive order which has put an immediate stop to all illegal immigrants under the age of 30 who were brought to the US before they were 16 and have graduated high school or served in the military. Illegal immigrants who meet these requirements will be granted work permits in a move which the president said was 'the right thing to do'.
The move, which is thought to affect as many as 1.5 million people according to some estimates, completely bypassed the Houses of Congress and has added an unexpected twist to the upcoming presidential election.
President Obama will face a stiff challenge from Republican nominee Mitt Romney in November and the still-struggling economy and high rate of unemployment had been considered to be the most crucial, deciding topic.
Mr Romney has been citing his success as a private businessman, his net worth is estimated to be around $200 million (£127 million), as his chief credential in helping America return to prosperity.
While immigration has been shown to be of considerable importance to many voters, particularly the potentially crucial Hispanic vote, research and surveys have consistently shown that the economy remains the most important to almost every demographic, even Hispanics.
However, the president's announcement last week has brought the issue front and centre...
...to read the rest of this story, click here.
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Obama’s immigration order solidifies Hispanic support
Barack Obama's executive order
has solidified his support among
President Obama's executive order has strengthened his position among the crucial Hispanic demographic, independent polls show.
Earlier this month President Obama issued an executive order which put a halt to the deportation of any illegal immigrant under the age of 30 who was brought to the country before they were 16, has graduated high school or served in the military and has no criminal record.
The order is thought to have a direct effect on 800,000 people, although some place it as high as 1.3 million.
President Obama promised a reform of the US immigration system during the 2008 election but his failure to do so led some to believe his popularity among Hispanic voters has fallen.
Hispanic voters are the fastest growing demographic in the country and, given their distribution throughout the swing states which could decide November's election, they are widely considered the most important vote to secure and both President Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney are trying their best to win their support.
While Republicans, including Mr Romney, have criticised the president's order, independent polls show the president's popularity among likely Hispanic voters to be as high as it was four years ago after the order was announced.
The nationwide USA TODAY/Gallup poll of more than 1,000 registered Hispanic voters found the president enjoying more than double the support of his rival: 66%-25%.
Not only is President Obama far ahead of the former Massachusetts governor, the poll's results show Mr Romney's standing among Hispanic voters is the lowest of any Republican presidential nominee in the last 16 years, during which time the size of the Hispanic electorate has doubled.
The hard line positions Mr Romney took during the primary appear to have damaged his campaign and while he has taken significant steps to soften his rhetoric since securing the nomination, independent analysts predict the former governor will need as much as 40% of the Hispanic vote to remain competitive in November.
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Supreme Court rules on Arizona US immigration case
The Supreme Court's ruling could
have far reaching consequences.
The US Supreme Court has finally passed its judgement on the controversial case of Arizona's SB 1070 law in a ruling which looks set to have serious ramifications on American life and politics, particularly the presidential election.
The law, known as the Support Our Law enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, was signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in April 2010 and was intended to take effect by the end of July that year. However, legal challenges over its constitutionality were filed almost immediately and the law has remained subject of legal challenges ever since.
SB 1070 is anti-illegal immigration law intended to crack down on illegal immigrants by making it almost impossible for them to remain in the state. At the time of its writing, SB 1070 was considered the strictest immigration law in the country.
Provisions in the law state that any foreign citizen over the age of 14 who remains in the country for more than 30 days must register with the government and all foreign citizens must carry registration documents on them at all times; the law makes it a misdemeanour crime for any foreign citizen found without the proper documentation.
The law makes it difficult for illegal immigrants to find work and includes fines for individuals or companies found to be hiring or harbouring illegal immigrants.
When enforcing the law, SB 1070 allows law enforcement officials to determine an individual's immigration status during either a routine stop or lawful arrest, or during any time that an official has 'reasonable suspicion' as to an individual's status.
The law was written in large part by Kansan Secretary of State Kris Kobach and sponsored by former State Senator Russell Pearce, both Republicans. The law has influenced similar laws in other states including South Carolina and Alabama which are subject to similar legal challenges. Alabama's HB 56 law, also drafted in large part by Mr Kobach is considered even tougher than SB 1070...
...to read the rest of this story, click here.
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- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the American Visa Bureau.
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