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WSJ: Economic Downturn Could Bolster US Immigration Overhaul, New Polling Finds

by Jacquelyn Mahendra on 06/03/2009 at 10:15am

Wall Street JournalNew public opinion research by Lake Research Partners showed up in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, ripping to shreds the conventional wisdom that immigration reform can’t happen in a down economy:

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–Tough economic times may be a boon for supporters of a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration policies, according to pollsters who are testing the waters ahead of an upcoming White House summit on immigration.

“If anything, the economic climate has actually improved the environment for immigration reform, at least as far as the public is concerned,” said Celinda Lake, who heads Lake Research Partners.

“A salient issue is that reform would make immigrants all taxpayers,” Lake said during a telephone briefing.

Lake’s research team, which released its findings yesterday, conducted a series of six focus groups across the country in advance of the Presiden’t June meeting on immigration reform. They found that the bad economy has put voters in a problem-solving state of mind.

The participants, which included several key swing demographic groups from Kansas City to Phoenix, strongly favored the specifics of a comprehensive immigration reform proposal in which undocumented immigrants register with the government, pay taxes, learn English, pass a background check, and apply for citizenship. Participants broadly rejected proposals calling for mass-deportation or enforcement-only tactics in favor of pragmatic proposals that move America forward.

Check out the America’s Voice polling roundup to learn more.

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