Between 2010 and 2012, immigration reform suffered the same defeat in Congress that was meted out to anything President Obama proposed...total Republican obstruction. Not only did they fail to pass comprehensive reform, Republicans even blocked the Dream Act when it came up for a vote.
But here we are in 2013 and its not only Senators McCain and Graham that are promoting comprehensive immigration reform. Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio is its chief champion. And now Paul Ryan looks to be on board.
Why the change? Let's state the obvious...71% of Latinos voted for the candidate who supports comprehensive immigration reform in the 2012 presidential election. Knowing that Latinos are the fastest growing demographic in the country, these Republicans know that if they have any hope of a political future, they have to get on board with this issue.
That's how democracy is supposed to work.
It's true - we don't yet know the outcome of whether immigration reform will actually pass. But this issue - more than any other - is splitting the Republican Party in two. One need only look at the release of Jim DeMint's Heritage Foundation report yesterday as representative of the nativist wing and the pushback it got from the realist wing to see that.
As a matter of fact, the politics of this issue are so strong that even the nativists aren't arguing against the basics. They're left to delay tactics - hoping they can derail progress - and lying about the financial repercussions of reform.
That's what citizenship in a participatory democracy can do.