Where Did Immigration Reform Fit in at the Republican Convention in Florida?

Something was missed at the Republican convention in Florida — immigration reform.

It was hard to miss the fact that the politicians at the Florida Republican convention were shamelessly wooing Hispanic voters. They handed out Spanish language signs, spoke in Spanish, and slammed Obama’s “Yes we can/ Si se puede” 2008 campaign slogan as being only words, not reality. However, when the dust settled on the convention floor, no one really realized that there was one very important item missing – immigration reform.

Not one of the speakers on tap during the convention tackled the floundering issue of comprehensive immigration reform, or mentioned Obama’s executive order staying deportations and granting work permits to DREAMERs. What did delegates think of that glaring omission? Interestingly enough, they thought it was better than the subject was “not” raised — a rather stunning point of view, considering it is one of the biggest issues in America today, aside from health care reform and the economy.

Many delegates and politicians muttered it was not a subject that worked for them, and their main goal was to get re-elected. Mulling over immigration reform was not a topic that anyone saw advancing their cause. Another stunning revelation, but perhaps, not really. Politicians are noted for avoiding issues that may blow up in their faces later, although many defended their position by indicating they felt Latinos were more worried about jobs than immigration.

An interesting perspective, given that to get a job, and not be deported for being illegal, an immigrant needs to be legal, or else. And they did not discuss immigration reform. Why? It likely has more to do with the fact that they don’t plan to deal with the issue in the next term, just like they have not really dealt with it during the term just ending. Does this bode well for Romney? That’s a toss-up question, with no obvious answer. It is unlikely it will help him snatch away too many votes from Obama, as Obama leads in the polls at 63 percent to Romney’s 28 percent.

In the dog days of campaign promises, hints and evasions, politicians hope voters will show more interest in stimulating the economy to promote more jobs. Let’s see what happens and whether or not the immigration reform debate will continue, as hot as ever. Chances are it will.

Sally Odell – Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, PA is an immigration lawyer in Miami with immigration law offices in Orlando and Miami Florida. To learn more, visit http://www.rifkinandfoxisicoff.com.

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