James Fallows: The Surprising News From One Small Town About Immigration Reform:
During the time we were in Holland, [MI,] just before the Syrian blow-up, the big political story out of DC was how the Republican party would position itself for or against an immigration-reform bill…. I was not expecting to hear much about that in Holland. Instead: tax rates, environmental or trade policy, Obamacare, et cetera. But in fact it came up surprisingly often…. The real news was… stress on the disruptive effect on students of prospective deportations…. Davis had lots more to say, as did industrialists in the area, about the ways they were trying to give high school students experiences and connections… plus a program a local private college has set up to let kids of undocumented/illegal parents still get loans and aid.
Here is the point for now: in a very strongly conservative-Republican congressional district, in a tiny (and successful, and conservatively religious) town as far removed from standard immigration stories as any you will find, a central concern in school performance was not simply the obvious challenge of handling America's ever-diversifying population. Instead it included the ripple effects on children who have grown up here in a legal twilight zone. This is the kind of thing that is happening on a local level while political parties figure out how to "position" themselves.