Lobbying for Immigration – the Interest of Interest Groups
This week in class, we discussed Lobbying and Interest Groups. Interest groups have their own agenda, obviously, and these agendas have sway. These interest groups, which differ from political parties (even though parties are aligned with similar interests), are incredibly strong and can affect legislation, whether they draft it themselves or influence and target committees or leaders to influence the law.
Representative Scott Tipton, Republican of Colorado, is one such leader that has been targeted by interest groups that want reform to be passed. Colorado, and especially Tipton’s district, has a high level of immigrants and hispanics, as his district has a huge agricultural center. It would make sense for him to support some level of reform in order to please constituents. He supports some sort of reform, while attempting to hold accountable the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country. “’We’ve got some that were looking for a better life, but they broke the laws to this country,’” he said. “’That can’t be without penalty.’” This attitude understandably angers certain constituents.
However, he seems slightly receptive to listening to constituents, or maybe it’s because his district has a large immigrant population. Regardless, he and eight other Republican members of Congress have been targeted by a coalition of immigration advocates to push reform through the House. This interest group is now pointing to the election aspect of not passing reform: ‘We feel that to move them, we have to awaken the electoral vulnerability that Republicans face, both specific Republicans that have large and growing immigrant electorates and also the party as a national party,’ said Tom Snyder, the immigration campaign director for the A.F.L.-C.I.O., one of the groups behind the campaign. ‘It’s very hard to think about them winning a presidential election with an immigrant electorate that’s growing and overwhelmingly hostile to the party.’”
This is a good point. Lobbyists and interest groups, with the advancement of technology, have the opportunity to gain support from voters all over the country. Voters, if truly passionate, can be mobilized. One thing we mentioned in class, however, is that this mobilization may not be believable to the members of Congress, which may cause them to continue this stalemate by not taking action.
Other interest groups, like the technology sector, argue that this stalemate harms the US as a whole because, without various immigrants or information provided by immigration, the US will fall behind technologically, which is contrary (hopefully) to the wishes of members of Congress.
Regardless of who or which interest groups want change, one thing is for sure – increased pressure by interest groups and lobbying may hopefully cause change. Otherwise, 2014 will be an interesting year for Republicans.