The Amazing Map That Offers Hope For Immigration Reform … And Taking Back The House In 2014 (IMAGE)

Immigration reform map with 44 congressional districts that can be influenced by Latino voters

Map by Mike Nudelman for Business Insider

When the senate passed its sweeping immigration reform bill last month, a bright flame of hope flickered, only to be snuffed out today by a recalcitrant, GOP-led House. The bill would have been the first step towards offering legal status to an estimated 11 million undocumented residents — many of whom are children and teenagers who’ve lived here since early childhood and have known no other home. This latest disappointment shows that — for all their yammering about “family values” — Republicans don’t care about what’s good for families at all. AI colleague Shannon Arguetta writes in her article, “House Republicans Pander To Their Deeply Racist Base And Refuse To Take Up Immigration Reform:

There are millions and millions of American families that are being torn apart by deportations of loved ones. Thousands of kids that have been turned into orphans. People like me, whose spouse is an immigrant, that stay awake night after night hoping our government will wake up and realize the importance of the matter. We had a little bit of hope and now the idiot Republicans in the House have dashed those hopes.

So how dashed should our hopes really be? Is immigration reform really dead? Brett Logiurato from Business Insider weighs in with a resounding “NO,” and we’d best take notice, because he’s lugging around some pretty heavy data. The data comes Latino Decisions, a polling firm that has created an elaborate interactive map to show how the Latino vote will influence politics and future elections. Logiurato analyzed this data to see how many Republicans might be nudged into the pro-immigration reform column — or ousted in 2014 — by the increasing Latino populations in their districts. Business Insider‘s Mike Nudelman then distilled all this information into the simple but revealing infographic shown above.

The future looks surprisingly rosy for those of us who care about immigration reform and hope to win back the House in 2014:

  • 44 Republicans represent districts with Latino populations whose numbers could influence whether or not they are re-elected.
  • Latino Decisions characterizes the 14 most vulnerable seats as “Tier 1″(red dots) districts that could easily flip from Republican to Democratic in 2014.
  • 10 more districts fall into the “Tier 2” (green dots) category — which is only considered slightly less likely to turn Democratic in 2014.
  • All 24 of the districts represented in the map above as red and green dots are up for grabs.
  • The remaining 20 congresspeople in “Tier 3” (blue dots) districts are probably safe for now (Mitt Romney won by double-digits), but ongoing demographics will not work in their favor.
  • 24 GOP representatives occupy highly vulnerable Tier 1 and Tier 2 seats, and the Democrats only need to win 17 of these spots to regain their majority vote in the House of Representatives.
  • The 44 congresspeople in all three tiers may come under enough pressure that they might have to vote for some sort of immigration reform.

Latino Decisions made these predictions based on various factors, including the percentage of Latinos in these districts who voted for Barack Obama in 2012, and the number of Latino youngsters expected to reach voting age between now and November 2014. In addition, Latino Decisions Analyst David F. Damore Ph.D. offers a few more salient points to give us hope. Apparently, Republican voters also support immigration reform, the Latino population’s growing nation-wide, and Republicans will need to pay attention or lose their seats:

First, polling suggests that immigration reform is not an animating issue for most Republican primary voters and most Republican voters generally support the same reforms as Latinos.  Second, Latino population growth is occurring everywhere, including in GOP House districts.  Third, developing expectations about members’ behavior in terms of average district characteristics obscures individual contexts where Republican incumbents are vulnerable and Latinos may be influential.  So while voting age Latinos may have small presences in most Republican held districts, there are a significant number of districts where Latinos are positioned to affect outcomes in 2014 and by extension, partisan control of the House of Representatives.

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