The Common Good

Obama’s Immigration Opportunity

As President Barack Obama prepares for a second term, immigration reform is rumored to be at the top of his agenda. With conservative opinion on the issue shifting, a unique opportunity exists to fix our nation’s broken immigration system. Americans are eager to see the president and Congress make progress on this unnecessarily vexing issue.

The record Latino voter turnout in support of President Obama played a key role in his electoral victory, as he won 71 percent of the vote compared with 27 percent for Gov. Mitt Romney.

These results have provided a catalyst for reenergizing the conversation around comprehensive immigration reform and paved the way for unexpected conversations among conservatives. Speaker of the House John Boehner, Sean Hannity, and columnist Charles Krauthammer have all come out publicly in support of immigration reform since the election. Discussions have even led to collaboration from both sides of the aisle as Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) work together to propose immigration policy that would provide an eventual path to citizenship.

In a changing political environment, my hope is our elected leaders will seize the moment and capitalize on this growing momentum. Americans overwhelmingly support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, according to a newly released ABC/Washington Post survey. The American people have spoken. Washington needs to act.  

Ivone Guillen is the immigration fellow at Sojourners.

Photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler /

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