Immigration divisive issue this year

April 28, 2010 at 2:48 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 28 (UPI) -- A vote on U.S. immigration reform this year could cause short-term problems for the Democrats and long-term ones for Republicans, observers say.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said this week he will bring a bill to the floor, The New York Times reported. Reid, seeking a fifth term, faces an uphill fight and hopes to galvanize the Hispanic vote in Nevada, but many Democrats in swing districts may not welcome a vote.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a longtime backer of reform facing a rightwing primary challenger, now praises the controversial Arizona immigration law that requires police to stop people who appear to be illegal immigrants. But in heavily Hispanic Florida, conservative Senate candidate Marco Rubio says he has doubts about the Arizona law.

Mark McKinnon, who has served as an adviser to McCain, says election year "is the worst time to move good public policy on this issue."

"Immigration is the most explosive issue I've seen in my political career," McKinnon said. "This is an issue on which Republicans salivate over short-term gains without much thought to the longer-term damage it will do the party."

Hispanics, the group most affected by the issue, have become an increasingly large voting block. In 2008, they tilted towards the Democrats, mainly because of immigration.

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