Democrats and Republicans have spent a significant portion of this campaign season blaming the other side for the gridlock in Washington, D.C., over comprehensive immigration reform.
Regardless of who is to blame for past failures, the makeup of the next Congress and lawmakers’ willingness to compromise will be crucial if any progress is to be made on the issue. In Nevada, the closely contested 3rd and 4th Congressional District campaigns have drawn the interest of an immigration advocacy group as “races to watch.”
America’s Voice, a Washington-based lobbying group that supports “humane” comprehensive immigration reform, according to its website, pegged the two Nevada races, and 12 others, as key contests for the future of U.S. immigration policy. The group opposes restrictionist policies and advocates for an approach that would legalize immigrants residing in the country illegally and provide a path to citizenship.
Immigration is not at the top of the list of issues for the general population, but it is in the top three for Hispanic voters, a crucial voting bloc in many swing states, including Nevada. A recent poll of the Silver State’s Hispanics voters showed they place immigration as the No. 2 issue right behind the economy.
In the 3rd Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Joe Heck, who won his first term by 1,078 votes, is up against Democratic State Assemblyman John Oceguera. In the new 4th District, Democratic state Sen. Steven Horsford is running against Republican Danny Tarkanian.
In September, America’s Voice listed its U.S. Senate races to watch, and included Nevada’s contest between Republican incumbent Dean Heller and Democratic U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley. In the 3rd District, which is 13 percent Hispanic, Democrats hold an edge in registered voters of roughly 3,000, while in the 4th District, 24 percent Hispanic, Democratic voters outnumber Republican voters by 34,000.