Immigration
June 15, 2013
Will Congress reform the nation’s immigration laws this year?

The political winds may have shifted on the divisive, long-stalled issue of immigration reform. In June the Senate began considering a bipartisan bill that would bolster border security while providing a path to citizenship for most undocumented immigrants. Many observers attribute the change to the growing clout of the Hispanic electorate, which voted overwhelmingly for President Obama in November, and to recent polls showing support for citizenship for some immigrants. Although migration from Mexico has fallen since 2007, the 2010 Census found that Latinos represented more than half of the U.S. population growth during the previous decade, most of it in the West and South. Six states, mostly in those two regions, have passed tough anti-immigration laws recently, but 21 others are considering relaxing access to college or drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants.

Delegate Antonia Gonzalez of Seattle sports a “Latinos for
            Obama” hat at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 4,
            2012. (Getty Images/Joe Raedle)   Delegate Antonia Gonzalez of Seattle sports a “Latinos for Obama” hat at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 4, 2012. Obama won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote in November, the largest margin in a presidential race since 1996, triggering an apparent shift in the political winds on immigration reform. (Getty Images/Joe Raedle)

As thousands of people of different ages and ethnicities gathered in front of the U.S. Capitol on April 10, the message was clear on the waving signs, in the hopeful chants and in the name of the rally itself: “The Time is Now.”

The boisterous rally, one of several held that day around the country, was organized to push for congressional action to allow the 11 million immigrants who arrived here illegally to stay in the United States and eventually become citizens. The optimistic tone was a sign of how the political winds appear to have shifted on an issue that has long divided the nation.

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