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Yet more evidence that the public supports comprehensive immigration reform

Thursday’s Senate Immigration Subcommittee hearing kicked off the debate on comprehensive immigration reform for the 111th Congress.  That advocates on both sides have been gearing up for this debate has been much in the news.  But where does the American public stand on the issue?

Two new polls released this week asked the public what they think we should do about undocumented immigrants.

A New York Times/CBS News poll released on Monday (April 27)  contains a question to gauge public opinion on what to do about undocumented immigrants.

The Times and CBS posed the question,

Which comes closest to your view about illegal immigrants who are currently working in the U.S.: 1. They should be allowed to stay in their jobs, and to eventually apply for U.S. citizenship; OR 2. They should be allowed to stay in their jobs only as temporary guest workers, but NOT to apply for U.S. citizenship; OR 3. They should be required to leave their jobs and leave the U.S.
(New York Times/CBS News Poll, April 22-26,2009, question 51

A plurality, 44%, said that they favored allowing “illegal immigrants” to stay and to eventually apply for citizenship.  Another 21% thought they should be allowed to stay and work as temporary guest workers.  Looking at African Americans, the percentage who favor allowing undocumented immigrants to stay and work rises to 55%, with just 19% saying they should leave.

Today (April 30), ABC News and the Washington Post released the results of some questions (in a poll that is being released over time) on “hot button issues.”  This poll asked a less nuanced question about what to do with the undocumented:

Would you support or oppose a program giving ILLEGAL immigrants now living in the United States the right to live here LEGALLY if they pay a fine and meet other requirements?
(ABC News/Washington Post Poll: Hot-Button Issues, April 30, 2009, question 44 )

A decisive majority, 61%, said they support giving “illegal” immigrants now living here the chance to stay.  The Post/ABC analysis notes that it is not only liberals and Democrats who favor this solution—70% and 68% respectively—but so do Republicans and independents (59% in both cases), moderates (63%) and conservatives (56%).

The two polls are consistent, with the Times/CBS polling showing 65% favor allowing the undocumented to stay in the U.S. and the Post/ABC poll showing 61% support.

Despite efforts to derail reform by the likes of Lou Dobbs, Glenn Beck, and the other radio and TV personalities who have shouted “amnesty!” until they are blue in the face, the public still wants reasonable solutions to this problem.  The public is pretty much in the same place as it was two years ago, when it was being tested again and again by the mainstream media during the Senate immigration reform debate.  Back then, the public also favored allowing undocumented immigrants a chance to stay. You can find links to many of these polls here.  You can also find a summary here.

The politics of immigration reform seem more complicated because those opposed to reform are very loud.  But these polls tell us, again, that comprehensive immigration reform is not only good policy, but good politics.

Oh, and one more thing.  Here’s something that I wouldn’t want to see if I were going to gamble with my political career by following the immigration restrictionists:

And support for a path to citizenship for illegals is 31 points higher among under 30s than it is among seniors, 73 percent vs. 42 percent.
(ABC News/Washington Post Poll: Hot-Button Issues, April 30, 2009)

To be sure, those under 30 years of age are going to be visiting the voting booth a lot more times in the years ahead.

Originally posted to ForumDriv on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:10 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We need to have Open Borders (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timaeus, serrano, jct, appletree

    Ya know, East Germany was a big advocate of border security too. Any kind of border wall that's used to keep out the Mexicans today will be used in the future to keep us in. International borders ought to be kept as open as possible so that desperate people have a way to escape poverty and persecution. All that talk about closing the border in response to Swine Flu really scares me because maybe the Swine Flu will be used as an excuse for martial law and they forcibly quarantine us. If shit like that happens, I'd like to be able to get the hell out.

  •  Everyone who supports immigration reform must let (8+ / 0-)

    their Representatives know about it.  Even though we have the numbers on our side, if Congress doesn't hear from us, and hears from the other side in great numbers (which they will), they will assume we don't care enough to vote on the issue.  So contact all your Representatives and let them know that you want immigration reform.

    •  I have been pushing mine for years (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and he always has the same answer: "This is a complex problem. Getting anywhere with this in Congress will be so hard. Blah, blah, blah." And then he does nothing much, not even signing on to the DREAM Act even though he says he supports it. But not enough, apparently, to go on record for it. And we need all the support we can get because we have this horrible situation here in NC (due in part to our recently elected Democratic Governor Perdue) where the Community Colleges have shut their doors to undocumented students even if they have lived most of their lives in the state and graduated from NC high schools.

      And that from a guy who represents one of the most progressive districts in NC (Price D-4). His Republican challenger last fall was to the LEFT of him on several issues. Mounting a primary challenge is an uphill struggle because Price has the money people in his pocket.


      I have won the War on Terror, and so can you. Simply refuse to be afraid.

      by heiderose1 on Fri May 01, 2009 at 12:48:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lou Dobbs ain't gonna be happy (4+ / 0-)

    with that poll. His head's going to explode!

    John Boehner: Bovine Gastroenterology Expert.

    by Bobs Telecaster on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:23:39 AM PDT

  •  I'm really hoping that the plan (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jct, Sentido, appletree

    worked out between the pro-labor groups gets a good hearing. The comprehensive immigration reform that was on the table in 2007 was so flawed even some on the pro-immigrant left were opposed to it.

  •  My Irish grandmother was dismayed.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cacamp, gjpeterson

    when she came to this country and saw several signs in windows of stores that read, "irish need not apply".  The added burden for todays' immigrants is the brown color of their skin.  Some americans strive for sameness, are suspicious of diversity.  Also, Lou Dobbs is a one issue meme.  He can't afford to change his tune and lose his small audience.

    •  Hey (0+ / 0-)

      How did your comment get moved up to the first one?

    •  Interesting. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      I live part time in San Francisco. We have plenty of Irish immigrants in the City, although not as many as Latinos and Asians. But Ireland suffers from the same restrictive immigrant quotas as Latin and Asian countries. So, many of our Irish immigrants are not documented, just as their Latino counterparts.

      They are very foreign. They stick to Irish pubs, drink warm beer, and watch soccer, which they incomprehensibly call "football". And you can hardly understand them sometimes, their accent is so thick. I wish they'd learn proper English. -snark-

      But your granny would be amazed at how easily the Irish are accepted in America today -- their brown brothers not so much.

      "There's no housing bubble..." - Fed Chief Ben Bernanke, 10/27/2005

      by chuco35 on Sat May 02, 2009 at 09:54:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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