We have recently begun to see some progress. The changing demographics of the United States has kept immigration reform in the forefront of the public’s mind. In the 2012 presidential election, Latino voters made up 10 percent of the voting electorate nationwide and that number is expected to increase. Both Democrats and Republicans, out of political necessity, are trying to create a comprehensive solution to the current immigration boondoggle created by a series of messy laws passed in the mid-90s and continuing to the recent Secure Communities Program.
A comprehensive solution to our immigration quagmire must include improvements to immigrants’ access to justice, protections against racial profiling, and initiatives to improve community relations between immigrants and law enforcement at the local, state and federal level. If we are to fix the U.S. immigration system, we need to take into account ways to protect the rights of immigrants as we expand their franchise in this country.
Ian Bratlie is a staff attorney with the ACLU Minnesota office in Mankato.