“In the past, the conventional wisdom has been that a candidate’s support for comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship might drive away moderate and conservative voters. This poll demonstrates what the 2008 election demonstrated: these voters are tired of the politics of polarization and paralysis and want their leaders to step up and solve tough problems,” continued Sharry. “The political space for immigration reform has never been greater. Congress should move on this issue this year.”

“Senator Schumer is providing strong leadership on an issue whose time has come,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice. “He is not deterred by the fact that there will always be opposition from hardliners to comprehensive immigration reform. But he gets what the majority of Americans get: if we as a nation are to significantly reduce illegal immigration we must combine border security measures with a crackdown on illegal hiring and worker abuse, an earned legalization component for those hard working immigrants already in the U.S. without immigration status, and a reformed and controlled legal immigration system. This combination is the best way to ensure that we truly get control of our immigration system.”

The current immigration system, which has not been updated for nearly twenty years, continues to keep American citizens and legal residents separated from their spouses, children, siblings, and parents for years or even decades. Updating the family immigration system will promote legal immigration into the country, and reduce pressure on family members to migrate outside of the legal system. “Reuniting families separated by our broken immigration system is a core component of comprehensive immigration reform.

“The President is working to fulfill his promise to tackle immigration reform during his first year,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice. “The evidence pointing to comprehensive immigration reform is overwhelming. The Senate held yet another hearing today on the issue, the Senate Majority Leader supports it, as do the majority of Americans who want common sense solutions to tough problems. The President is showing leadership and his ability to bring a diverse group of people together to talk about an urgent problem is a good next step.”

“J.D. Hayworth is a poster child for anti-immigrant extremism,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice. “Apparently, he is the poster today’s Republican Party wants on their wall. Though some Republican leaders are talking a good game about the need to improve outreach to Latino voters, the continued embrace of mass-deportation types like Hayworth will erase every positive step the GOP takes and keep its brand image toxic among Latino voters and an all Americans seeking practical solutions to the big issues of our time.”

“Even though support for immigration reform has always been high among Hispanic voters, this poll clearly indicates that we now have a much higher �intensity of support level’ for the issue within this electorate,” said Sergio Bendixen. “The divisive tone and demagogic rhetoric of the anti-immigrant movement in America continues to politicize Hispanic Americans and to unite them in favor of a new immigration policy.”

AgJOBS, which would provide earned immigration status for experienced farm workers, would protect farmworkers from exploitative working conditions while providing agricultural employers with a stable, legal labor force. “The status quo for farmworkers, agricultural employers, and ultimately American consumers, is unsustainable and requires reform,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice. “AgJOBS advances a solution to this challenge and is another indication of the momentum behind comprehensive immigration reform. We applaud Senator Feinstein and Representatives Putnam and Berman for their leadership on the issue and for seeking practical solutions to our broken immigration system.”

Yesterday, Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced that he plans to run for the U.S. Senate seat that Republican Mel Martinez will be vacating in 2010. Crist, an immigration reform supporter, is a moderate candidate in a contrast to the recent Republicans that have tried to fill vacant seats. “Governor Crist’s announcement that he plans to run for Senate is a breath of fresh air for the Republican Party,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice. “Recent Republican Candidates like Rosanna Pulido in Illinois or Jim Tedisco in New York lost because they held views that were out of the mainstream.