Public Overwhelmingly Supports Path to Citizenship
One day before President Obama gives a major speech on immigration at the U.S./Mexico border, new polling underscores that Americans are well ahead of some in Washington when it comes to understanding how to fix the broken immigration system. In particular, while many Republicans in Congress continue to push for enforcement-only approaches or hide behind vacuous “border security first” rhetoric, the public understands that a lasting and workable version of immigration reform must also include a path to legal citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people living in our nation.
Polling from Pew Research Center finds overwhelming 72%-24% support for a path to legal citizenship for the undocumented, “provided they pass background checks, pay fines and have jobs.” Notably, Pew divided voters into eight distinct subgroups across the ideological and demographic spectrum. Support for the path to legal citizenship was at least 58% among seven of the eight subgroups, while the “staunch conservatives” subgroup split 49%-49% on the topic.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, “Republicans in Congress are blocking what the country needs and wants. Whether it’s the avowed mass-deportation fantasies espoused by Lamar Smith, Elton Gallegly, and Steve King or the pernicious, ‘move the goalposts’ stalling tactics of self-described immigration reformer John Cornyn, the result is the same – keeping us from the solution that the American people are calling for.”
Indeed, the reaction from Republicans to President Obama’s renewed emphasis on immigration reform reveals the gulf between where the American public and Republicans in Congress are on the issue. According to the Houston Chronicle, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said the “president has failed to secure the border and thus failed to build consensus to pass reform legislation” and his spokesperson said, “Words matter little when there is no action.” Separate from the enforcement metrics the President is sure to tout in his speech tomorrow to refute Senator Cornyn’s assertion, the choreographed reaction manages to shift the responsibility and focus away from a simple fact – it’s Cornyn and his colleagues who are blocking action. As we have long acknowledged, Senator Cornyn is the master of ‘kick the can’ politics on immigration, insisting on portraying himself as a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform while managing to block progress on the issue every time it matters.
Said Sharry, “The result of the obstructionism by Cornyn and his colleagues is to cement the status quo, do nothing practical or humane regarding the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S., and pass on their responsibility to solve a problem in a practical and popular manner.”
America’s Voice Education Fund — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.