Photo: Dream Act Rally
In December 2005 H.R. 4437, aka the “Sensenbrenner Bill” was passed by the House of Representatives and the issue of immigration became front page news in American politics. The bill asked for the immediate deportation of all undocumented immigrants, and would make it a crime to assist undocumented immigrants in any way, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. The immigrant rights marches that occurred in the Spring of 2006 further highlighted the political importance of immigration reform within the Latino community, and with an estimated 5 million taking part in the rallies, demonstrated the mobilizing capacity of immigration as an issue.
Since 2006, immigration reform has continually been cited as one of the top issues of concern in the Latino community, and in the 2010 election immigration continued to play a major role in the minds of Latino voters. Latino Decisions election eve poll found that 60% of Latino voters stated immigration was “one of the most important issues” on election day 2010. Despite the salience of immigration, it was the one issue in which goodwill was not found during the lame duck session in December 2010, and the DREAM Act failed to pass in the Senate. Thus, the DREAM Act and immigration reform at large, still looms for the President, the Congress, and Latino electorate.
While the economy is an obvious issue of concern for Latinos and all Americans in 2011, the February 2011 impreMedia-Latino Decisions tracking poll found strong evidence that immigration in general, and the DREAM Act specifically, continue to rank high on the Latino agenda. Overall, 47% of Latino registered voters stated immigration was currently the most important issue facing the Latino community, while 85% said they supported the DREAM Act.