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Immigration News

2012,June,23 12:08:31

Obama Against Romney

The president’s move ended the practice of deporting young undocumented immigrants who met certain criteria. And the announcement and its timing were decried as a political stunt by Republicans, and particularly by presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. They criticized Mr. Obama for essentially pandering to Hispanic.

If politics were indeed the primary driver for the order, one week after the announcement it looks like a shrewd maneuver. At least one poll shows Americans on the whole favor the plan by a wide margin and it does even better among independent voters.

But beyond those numbers, Mr. Obama’s move looks as though it could pay off for him in the place where politics have the most meaning in presidential years: the electoral map. Simply put, foreign-born Hispanic populations – those likely to be most directly affected by the policy – are based in some important battleground states.

The numbers look even more dramatic when you consider voting-eligible Hispanics in key states like Florida, Colorado and North Carolina. Mr. Obama won all three of those states in 2008 and in each the number of voting-eligible Hispanics far exceeds his margin of victory.

But even outside of those states the impact could be significant in 2012 in part because of the close presidential election everyone expects. When you analyze the country’s foreign-born population using Patchwork Nation’s demographic/geographic breakdown you get a sense of just how significant Mr. Obama’s announcement could be.

There is a county type within Patchwork Nation’s breakdown that holds large Hispanic populations, Immigration Nation. And when you look at the foreign-born population up against those counties you see clear commonalities. The top map below shows the Patchwork Nation types (Immigration Nation counties are light blue), the one underneath shows foreign born population.

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