Almost two decades after congressional investigators and reporters caught the Clinton administration attempting to register one million immigrants ‒ many of whom did not have the right legal documents ‒ as US citizens and Democrat voters, some Republicans are afraid that a similar scheme is behind the Obama administration’s rush to enact immigration reform.
Obama’s decision to take executive action is about more than protecting millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. It also includes a push for them to gain US citizenship, which many critics believe is an attempt to get more Democrat voters registered and to use these new citizens to the party’s advantage at the next election in 2016.
“The goal is to naturalize as many as they can, with the idea of registering them to vote in the hope that they’re going to vote Democratic as they did in 1996,” says Randy Pullen, a strategist for the Republican party. “They’re using our money for political means for their 2016 path to victory in their minds.” Washington-based National Immigration Forum director Ali Noorani believes that it is a good thing that undocumented immigrants are being encouraged to become full members of society. The Obama administration insists that its immigration policy is all about improving the US economy; however, the Republican party is less than convinced about its motives. In many states the amount of permanent residents eligible to become citizens far outstrips the small margin of victory by which many Republican candidates won seats in the last election.