Immigrants are in the middle of the political battle for 2024

José López Zamorano | La Red Hispana 
Photo Credit: Molly Adams / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

For good and not so good reasons, undocumented immigrants find themselves in the middle of the political battle between Republicans and Democrats in the final stretch toward the 2024 presidential election.

Among the good reasons is the fact that a bill to reform the 1929 Immigration Registry has been revived, which would allow legalization with a path to residency and citizenship for some 8 million undocumented immigrants who can prove they lived for seven uninterrupted years in the United States.

Of course that is easier said than done. This is not the first time this bill has been introduced and getting it passed is going to be an uphill race. Although its dozens of sponsors seek to bring together a coalition of moderates from both parties, it is not an easy task in the midst of a climate of ideological polarization.

Among the bad reasons, we have before our eyes clear evidence that undocumented immigrants are once again becoming the scapegoat for the structural problems of the United States.

On the one hand, it is not necessary to be a political genius to know that if the most right-wing sectors of the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives had been able to, at this moment we would have a new border control law with characteristics very similar to the Trump era.

Fortunately, the most moderate sectors of that party have kept the process of this bill blocked, which sought, among other things, to deny the possibility of asylum to the overwhelming majority of applicants who arrive at the border.

On the other hand, the administration of President Joe Biden has made the controversial decision to inoculate himself against the Republican attacks on immigration, adopting immigration measures that smack of Trumpism, such as the automatic denial of asylum or the possibility of detaining immigrant families at the border.

Fortunately, the progressive sectors of the Democratic party both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate are not going to allow the president to go free, with which we have the ideal ingredients for a new confrontation between the White House and the left wing of the Democratic party.

Biden has never been a leftist politician, despite the label that the Republicans want to foist on him. Since his time as a senator he has held moderate positions and knows that elections in the United States are won precisely in the political center in the style of Bill Clinton.

But it’s still sad that the same president who ended detentions of immigrant families at the border is considering repeating that terrible policy of family separation.

Although immigration is not necessarily listed as the number one priority for Latino voters, if enough of the Hispanic community stops voting in 2024 in battleground states, the president and his party could be in trouble in retaining the White House.

So whether for political or moral reasons, immigrants should not again become the fodder of political battles between Democrats and Republicans. Their role has been and will continue to be essential in this country, even more so in the lean times. They do not deserve to be pawns of politics, but given an urgent, dignified and humanitarian solution.