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US/ Towards a bi-partisan policy on immigration reform?

LORENZO ALBACETE talks about the contacts between the parties to find an agreement on a comprehensive immigration deal, and highlights the role the Catholic Church can play in this respect

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In my column last week I proposed that we can summarize President Obama's second Inaugural Address in terms of a line with an arrow tip pointing towards the direction in which Obama wants to lead the country during his second and last term in office. Crucial to this direction is the issue of immigration reform. This seems to be one of the very important issues on Obama's agenda for moving the country forward along the line traced in his inaugural address.

Republicans have taken notice of the possibility to improve the dismal results of the last election by Latino voters. Just in these days it was announced that a group of influential senators from both parties has reached an agreement on the outlines of a comprehensive immigration deal.

According to a document provided to POLITICO, the deal would create a pathway to citizenship for the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants, but establishing that pathway could only come after the U.S. puts in place stricter enforcement measures. A different path to citizenship would be established for young individuals who came illegally to the country as children and agriculture industry workers.

The plan would also seek an overhaul of the legal immigration system to attract high-skilled workers. Not coincidentally, President Obama is in Las Vegas, Nevada, to unveil to Latino leaders his own version of immigration reform.

In the context of the future of the Republican Party - something much discussed these days - the adoption of legislation acceptable to Republicans and Democrats will sustain the former in their efforts to bring the Republican Party to a political level that can compete credibly with the Democrats.

Latino voters favor the Democratic Party because they believe Democrats are more aware of the Latinos' needs and are committed to help them and their families overcome their poverty. Republicans, on the other hand, are thought to expect the free market to take care of creating economic opportunities for the poor.

It didn't help that the Republicans, from the time of President Nixon, began to form a coalition that seemed to exclude poor Latinos except those illegal immigrants who were willing to work for the lowest possible and uncertain salary payments.