The United States has faced an immigration cliff for decades in this country. President George W. Bush wanted a pathway to citizenship for illegal residents. The business wing and the national conservative wing of the Republican Party killed the proposed legislation in 2006 and 2007 following a massive backlash from voters, both Democratic and Republican.
The immigration cliff, like the fiscal cliff, represents the fissure of public opinion in the United States. People want their welfare state, but they do not want to pay for it. People want their cheaper goods made with cheap, illegal labor, but they do not want to pay the costs of increased legal immigration or a diminished welfare state which would make expanded immigration feasible and fiscally viable.
The Republican Party can embrace this issue without breaking up into warring factions. Republicans in the House passed the STEM Jobs Act, which would expedite VISAs for recent graduates in this country from other countries. The Democrats have sat down on this bill along with everything else from the House. The Democratic Party elites want to create hand-out dependents. The Republicans want to invite freedom-seeking individuals into a higher standard of life and liberty without diminishing their respect and integrity through dependence on the state.
Marco Rubio exhibited some real political street-smarts when he reached out to Latino voters with a modified version of the DREAM Act, which President Obama then adopted.
Instead of demagoguing the President's executive order, the Republicans need to expose the greater problems which this faux-amnesty pressed onto young illegal immigrants in this country. Frankly, it's insulting to dangle "non-enforcement" in front of a young Latino without promising citizenship. Most immigrants enter this country, legally or illegally, looking for the rule of law.
Economists Milton Friedman, Walter Williams, and Congressman Ron Paul all advocate for open immigration sans welfare state. Instead of hybrid-identities for young illegals, in which they can remain in this country but cannot become part of this country, the President should have diminished the welfare state, followed by an increase in the number of legal immigration entering the country. His current policies point out that he is pandering for votes.
If Republicans would only point out this petty disjunction, they can win Latino votes and promote effective immigration policy. As mentioned above, they already took the first step with the STEM Jobs Act.