California Republicans are taking a different tack on undocumented immigrants, softening the party's language to appeal to more voters. The language adopted Saturday does not eliminate the party's opposition to "amnesty" for those in the United States illegally, but it does recognize that “Republicans hold diverse views” on “what to do with the millions of otherwise law-abiding folks who are currently here illegally,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
The policy change eliminates a platform plank that states: “Allowing illegal immigrants to remain in California undermines respect for the law.”
Immigration has been a major issue in GOP presidential campaign circles ever since Donald Trump launched his campaign and alleged Mexico purposely sends rapists and other criminals across the border. Both those for and against immigration agree the country's current system is broken.
Efforts in Congress to reform U.S. immigration policy have gone nowhere for years despite bipartisan legislation, including the so-called DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) that would have instituted a multiphase process to grant conditional residency to undocumented immigrants who grew up in the United States.
Lack of congressional action pushed President Barack Obama in 2014 to issue a number of executive orders to reduce the number of deportations for about half the more than 11 million immigrants in the country without permission.
Pew Research indicated about half the undocumented immigrants are from Mexico, though their numbers are declining. Sixty percent of undocumented immigrants live in six states -- California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois, but the population is growing elsewhere, including in Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Pew said undocumented immigrants make up 5.1 percent of the labor force, the highest proportions in Nevada (10 percent), California (9 percent), Texas (9 percent) and New Jersey (8 percent), and 7 percent of the elementary and secondary school population.