Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Richard Pacelle, professor of political science at the University of Tennessee, to find some answers.
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama will be in Las Vegas to announce his ideas for immigration reform – something the president has called one of his top priorities.
On Monday, a bipartisan Senate group beat the president to the punch, announcing a broad agreement to overhaul Federal Immigration law.
Under the deal, undocumented immigrants who have no criminal records would be able to apply for legal residency after paying a fine and back taxes.
The measure would open a path to full U.S. citizenship for the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented workers.
But the agreement requires the federal government to first take strong steps to prevent a future influx of illegal immigrants, including tighter work rules to force employers to hire only legal immigrants, and more agents and equipment to improve border policing.
The new attention to immigration reflects a strong feeling among some Republicans that the party must win more Hispanic voters. But the new proposals are likely to face tough opposition from some House Republicans.