Undocumented immigrants serving in the US military who came to the country when they were children have become the most recent test of the willingness of the Republican party to support reforms to the current immigration system. A Californian Republican lawmaker is promoting a bill that would grant legal status to undocumented immigrants in the US military as he and other lawmakers representing Hispanic communities try to appeal to the demographic that overwhelmingly voted in favor of President Obama and the Democrats in the last two elections.
Democrats point the finger of blame firmly at the Republican party for the inability of Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, while those Republicans who are in favor have been forced to defend themselves from attacks by fiercely conservative members of their own party.
At state level, Republican legislators are likely to make Florida the 20th state in the country to change the laws to reduce college fees for those undocumented immigrant students who arrived here when they were children. Right wing opposition and partisan mistrust is preventing progress being made on the issue in Washington, despite congressional Democrats, Republican leaders, business groups and the White House all agreeing that broad federal reform is badly needed.
Californian congressman Jeff Denham is pushing the military bill known as the enlist act, which is exposing deep divisions in the Republican party ahead of the midterm elections in November. Denham sees his bill as potentially being the first stage in a more step-by-step approach to reform.