11:15 AM EDT, November 1, 2013
If the Republican Party looks not only to the history of the nation but its own history as a party, it will have plenty of reasons to back comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for the undocumented ("Can Republicans do the expedient thing on immigration?" Oct. 28).
No amount of gerrymandering can change this history or alter its impact on the present debate.
Despite the increasing partisan nature of our political process, past legislative debates give some reason to hope that a compromise can be reached this year. Immigration, unlike other political issues, has never had a clear partisan slant, because partisans in each party have good reasons for taking a pro-immigration stance.
Whether motivated by a concern for economic growth or human rights, Republicans as well as Democrats have traditionally found ways to agree on legislation that has made life better for immigrants in America, and America better as well. The immigration reform bill voted out of the U.S. Senate this past summer by more than two-thirds of its members is the most recent example of this trend, which goes back for decades.
Both parties have produced political leaders who are first- or second-generation immigrants, including a number of Republican governors, such as Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and U.S. senators such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. This fact alone is a testament to how deeply immigration is woven into the American tapestry, strengthening our economy, enriching our culture and enhancing our stature as a leader among nations.
Our economy, culture and international standing are no less dependent today on maintaining our strong bipartisan history as a nation of immigrants. It is a history that goes all the way back to the first Thanksgiving, and I am confident that before another Thanksgiving passes, both houses of Congress and President Obama will find a way to write another chapter in that history.
Cynthia B. Rosenberg, Baltimore
The writer is Chair of the DC Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
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