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Welfare and Immigration, Research Paper Example

Pages: 3

Words: 697

Research Paper

USA is the world’s most diverse nation. The country holds the reputation of being the most welcoming nation on the earth for immigrants. Faced with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of 1930s as well as one of the highest unemployment rates in its recent history,  the country has been witnessing a growing backlash against some 12 million undocumented residents (unofficial estimates put the number at 16 million) most of whom are Hispanics. Surprisingly, the greatest opposition is coming from Republican Party and its supporters who have traditionally been viewed as immigrant friendly. The last time an immigration reform successfully passed was during Republican US President, Ronald Reagan’s reign. The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was enacted on November 6, 1986 and granted legal residency to approximately 3 million undocumented residents.

There are over 60 million Evangelical Christians in the US. Evangelical Christians are the largest religious group in the US, even exceeding Protestant Americans. The most popular Evangelist leader would undoubtedly be Billy Graham who was famously called America’s Pastor and had the ears of every American President during his leadership of Billy Graham Ministries. As a political group, Evangelical Christians are arguably the biggest political force in America. Evangelicals were the major reason behind former US President, George W. Bush’s victories in 2000 and 2004 Presidential contests.

Billy Graham’s 27 books have sold millions of copies and have been translated into over 50 languages (Wacker, September 2009, Pg. 491). Current Evangelical leaders to exert great political influence are Ricky Warren (often seen as Billy Graham’s rightful heir), Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham who leads Billly Graham Ministries now), and James Dobson among many others. Even though Evangelical Leaders have not been vocal in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, certain regional Evangelical Churches have implied their support of the immigration reform. Hispanics, not many from Mexican heritage, are the fastest growing US ethnic group (Country Report, 2008, Pg. 170) and Evangelical Church sees them as an important growth engine in the near future.

Hispanics have already taken over African Americans as the largest minority group in the US. According to Professor G. William Domhoff of Sociology Department at University of California, Santa Cruz, Hispanics also enjoy higher median annual household income than blacks as of 2006 (Domhoff, November 2010). Hispanics supported Republican candidate George W. Bush in both of his terms and turned out in huge numbers for US President Barrack Obama who promised comprehensive immigration reform in his very first year of Presidency but has been unable to deliver on his promise so far. Hispanics are now predominantly Democratic, in part, due to Republicans staunch opposition to any form of immigration reform. Nevertheless, support for Obama and Democrats has certainly declined from the 2008 record levels. But Democrats are perceived as more pro-immigration than their Republican counterparts at the moment and this worries numerous Republican strategists.

African Americans have remained predominantly democratic since the end of Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s that met great opposition from the Republican leaders of that era and some Republican strategists are privately concerned that continuous anti-immigration rhetoric from Republican leadership risks converting the ever growing Hispanic demographics into permanent Democratic base as well. It is understandable from a political perspective why Republicans have continuously opposed Democratic efforts towards immigration reform during Obama’s first two years. Now that Republicans have gained the majority in House of Representatives, they have an opportunity to recover lost Hispanics’ support by passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform though that doesn’t appear very probable in the next two years at least if Republican’s incoming leadership election vows are any hints. But political stakes are high for them so the possibility of a changed stance on immigration by the Republican Party stays alive.  The victory of Democratic Senator Harry Reid and Democratic sweep out in California would never have been possible without the strong Hispanics base that turned out in great numbers. Hispanics have yet again demonstrated their political might.

References

Country Report. (2008). Political Overview. United States Country Review , pp. 1-199.

Domhoff, G. W. (n.d.). Power in America. Retrieved November 29, 2010, from Who Rules America?:    http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

Wacker, G. (2009, September). Billy Graham’s America. Church History , pp. 489-511.

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