The pressures against immigration reform are so obvious they're almost cliché. Most Republican politicians fear revolt from amnesty-loathing conservatives. Many Democrats see strategic advantage in keeping the wedge issue alive.
What our leaders don't see (or refused to acknowledge) are the false assumptions built into their positions, and the powerful incentives for both sides to compromise. They should read this report from Third Way, a Democrat think-tank with enough intellectual honesty to analyze data irrespective of its party bias.
Despite their rising political power, both Republicans and Democrats have tended to misrepresent Hispanic America.
Many Republicans view Hispanics as undocumented, poor, and unwilling to assimilate. But the data shows that Hispanics are overwhelmingly citizens and legal residents and have broadly adopted American values. Many Democrats emphasize immigration as the sole issue of importance to the community and assume Hispanics are liberals. But Hispanics are concerned with issues beyond immigration and hold complex — and often conservative views — on a number of issues.
The report's author, demographer Michelle Diggles, warned her own party, "Hispanics are not born liberal Democrats." While President Obama won the Hispanic vote in 2012 by 44 points, a majority of Hispanics identified at independents and only 32 percent as Democrats.
"And Hispanics express lukewarm feelings about the Democratic Party. Only 27 percent think the Democratic Party cares a lot about the issues and concerns of Hispanics," she wrote. "This and their lack of identification as self-described Democrats suggest that Hispanic attachment to the Democratic Party is shallow rather than deep."