While most people still associate politics with kissing babies and back room deals, this high stakes field is now governed in large part by statistical analysis. Presidential elections are painstakingly mapped out long before a vote is ever cast, and this type of predictive modeling is now being applied to the immigration battle currently occurring in the Congress. Assistant professor Tom Wong of University of California, San Diego is using background information about each Senator and Representative to predict how they will vote on immigration reform. This information is being used by pro-immigration groups to help allocate more resources in winning support in upcoming votes.
I have been an immigration attorney for many years and understand that the lives of millions of people in this country and across the globe will be affected by Congress’ decisions. It is not surprising that every conceivable technological tool will be used to attempt to influence these critical votes.
Dr. Wong’s ability to predict votes has already been tested when the U.S. Senate voted to pass their version of an immigration reform bill in June. His models predicting the individual votes by Senators were almost perfect. This has not only proven the accuracy of Dr. Wong’s models, but it has also helped him a gain national following among pro-immigration groups.
Dozens of groups like Fwd.us have spoken to Dr. Wong about his predictions in the House of Representatives. At the moment, he predicts that only 203 yes votes are possible on a comprehensive immigration reform bill that mirrors the Senate’s. This falls far short of the 218 needed to pass such a bill.
Wong attributes much of the behavior of Representatives to the gerrymandered districts that have few immigrant constituents. These Representatives would not receive any political reward for supporting an immigration bill, and would likely see eroding political support if they voted for it. While some of these Congressmen could be convinced to support immigration reform measures to help drum up support for their party in national contests, in most cases, it appears unlikely that most would jeopardize their political futures for presidential politics.
Wong includes a number of factors in his models including vote history, constituency demographics, and ethnicity. He is also actively involved in assisting many pro-immigration groups by providing insights into the voting behavior of key Congressmen and advice on how to win their vote.
Although Wong has predicted a lack of support for a comprehensive immigration package, there is still the possibility that many key immigration measures could still pass the House. For example, the House of Representatives is considerably more likely to pass laws for undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children on a separate bill.
Having witnessed many prior battles on immigration in Congress, I hesitate to predict the ultimate outcome, unlike Dr. Wong. As an immigration attorney, I am hopeful that whatever compromises result will benefit Texas communities.
Lyttle Law Firm, PLLC has successfully represented its clients in a variety of immigration and family law proceedings. To discuss your case with an experienced legal professional, please contact our office at (512) 215-5225.