With new calls to action and events across the country, the pressure on House Republicans to pass immigration reform is at an all-time high. As the pro-reform movement continues to escalate its intensity, new polls of likely 2014 voters in the districts of Florida Republican Congressmen Daniel Webster’s (FL-10) and Dennis Ross (FL-15) district show their own constituents are looking for their Congressmen to take action.
The poll in Webster’s District, sponsored by America’s Voice and conducted this week by Magellan Strategies (a Republican-affiliated polling firm), shows that Webster’s constituents overwhelmingly support immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. According to the results, 79% of likely 2014 voters—including 80% of Republicans—support legislation that would increase border security, block employers from hiring undocumented immigrants and make sure undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. pass a criminal background check and register for legal status as similar to HR 15. If Rep. Webster were to sponsor legislation along these lines, 43% of voters say they would have a more favorable opinion of him, including 52% of Republicans. Twenty-nine percent of voters say it would not change their opinion either way.
Further, a full 70% of voters—and 80% of Republicans—said that they support the path to citizenship that includes the requirements laid out in HR 15. After learning of Rep. Webster’s support for citizenship and the failure by House Republicans to put forth an immigration bill to be voted on by all members of Congress, 46% of respondents said they believed Webster could do more to push immigration reform legislation such as cosponsoring HR 15, while 37% said that there is only so much he could do when Republican House leaders are reluctant to hold a vote on an immigration reform bill. Seventeen percent said that they were unsure or had no opinion.
The poll in Ross’ district, also sponsored by America’s Voice and conducted this week by Magellan Strategies, shows that Ross’ constituents overwhelmingly support immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. According to the results, 78% of likely 2014 voters—including 79% of Republicans– support legislation that would increase border security, block employers from hiring undocumented immigrants and make sure undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. pass a criminal background check and work toward citizenship, provisions included in the bipartisan reform bill HR 15. If Rep. Ross were to sponsor legislation along these lines, 39% of voters say they would have a more favorable opinion of him, including 51% of Republicans. Twenty-eight percent of voters say it would not change their opinion either way. Further, a full 71% of voters—including 77% of Republicans—said that they support the path to citizenship that includes the requirements laid out in HR 15.
According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:
While we’re thankful for Rep. Webster’s public support for a pathway to citizenship, he has yet to take real action when it comes to moving immigration reform forward. And as the results show, Webster’s constituents not only support immigration reform with a pathway citizenship by wide margins, but they also want their Representative to work with Democrats to push it through the finish line. Webster should either cosponsor HR 15, the Democratic House immigration bill, or call on Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to schedule a vote on reform. His constituents want it, his Party needs it, and Webster would be wise to take real action.
For Ross, the results are crystal clear: Ross’ constituents want immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship and they want their Representative to lead. So far all he’s given them are vague talking points and sound bites but has failed to demonstrate his commitment to making reform a reality. So what’s he so afraid of? Ross should follow the will of his constituents and work with Democrats and other Republicans to pass immigration reform now.
Added Angie McKinnon, one of Webster’s constituents and organizer with Unite Here and executive board member of the AFL-CIO:
For the past several months, we’ve been working in Webster’s district, holding events and rallies to target Webster and the rest of the Florida Congressional delegation on immigration and remind them what’s at stake. As a constituent and voter in Webster’s district, I assure you I’m watching Webster’s moves on this issue very closely. While I’m pleased to see he’s come out in support of a pathway to citizenship, talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. It’s time for him to demonstrate his commitment to reform and his commitment to his own constituents by taking a lead role in making sure immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship becomes reality.
Daniel Barajas, Director of the Young American Dreamers in Polk County and one of Ross’ constituents said:
The majority—over three quarters–of Ross’ constituents are in favor of some sort of immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. There’s no reason why our Representative of the people, elected by the people, should go against the will of his constituents. As 2014 draws closer, Rep. Dennis Ross should take note: if he doesn’t follow the majority of his constituents, we’ll have to vote for someone who will.
Florida leaders and advocates have been targeting Ross for months, with prayer vigils, face to face meetings, rallies and acts of civil disobedience. While he’s made some positive comments about moving reform forward, he has yet to take action and show leadership in moving reform forward.