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Immigration Reform Means Citizenship, Because Americans Want It, Democrats Promised It, and Republicans Need It

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The ramp-up to the upcoming immigration reform legislative battle has started and will continue to play out in public over the coming months.  As America’s Voice Education Fund’s Executive Director Frank Sharry told USA Today, the legislative “measures that pass are those are litigated in public, in a loud debate.”  However, despite the impending noise, the necessary components of the eventual solution are already clear and unequivocal – real immigration reform means a road to citizenship for 11 million immigrants.

“When it comes to citizenship, Americans want it, Democrats promised it, and Republicans need it,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director at America’s Voice Education Fund.  “Measures that stop short of full citizenship or focus on other aspects of the immigration system are not serious or sufficient alternatives.”

As recent analysis from Latino Decisions’ co-founder Gary Segura makes clear, the Latino voting electorate overwhelmingly views citizenship as an essential component of immigration reform.  Segura also notes that for Latino voters, “the creation of a permanent alien class, guest workers or another form of residency that never turns into full social membership, is a non-starter.”

Meanwhile, a new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground poll finds that the American public also wants real immigration reform with a citizenship component.  Conducted by Democratic pollster Lake Research Partners and Republican pollster The Tarrance Group, the poll finds that by a 62%-35% margin, Americans want citizenship as part of an immigration reform solution.  As POLITICO highlights, “The national poll, conducted last week, finds more Republicans — 49 percent — support a path to citizenship than oppose it — 45 percent.  Democrats favor this approach 3-to-1, 74 percent to 24 percent.  And independents back it by a 26-point margin, 61 percent to 35 percent.”

Concluded Sharry, “The heart of any real immigration solution is clear – an opportunity for immigrants to gain full citizenship and participate freely in American life.”