Denham’s message was loud and clear. “We can’t afford any more delays,” said the congressman, who represents a district that is 40 percent Latino. “We are a nation of immigrants, but today, our broken system has failed to secure the border, enforce our current laws and help us to attract the best and brightest who want to come and contribute to the greatness of America.”
Let’s get real. Republicans need to drag their party leaders to the table and force a House vote on immigration reform because an increasing number of them are representing districts with expanding immigrant populations. The electoral pressure to engage in immigration reform has never been greater for many in the GOP. I know it firsthand; I worked for Mitt Romney in 2012.
Democrats, meanwhile, cannot simply blame Republicans for not passing immigration reform. They have to try to work together because the Hispanic communities will not forgive them if they fail. After all, they and President Barack Obama ran their 2012 campaigns with the promise of winning immigration reform with a path to citizenship this year.
Here’s my bipartisan message: Both sides will get blamed if immigration legislation fails and both sides can share the credit if they succeed. It’s a win-win!
Don’t worry about succeeding and losing a political issue to fight over in the 2014 elections. As the current government crisis shows, you have plenty of other areas of disagreement. On immigration, give bipartisanship a chance.
The time is now!
César Martínez is president of MAS Consulting, a public affairs firm that does media strategy for Republican candidates.