The solution-oriented mindset of the American people is leading to increased support for comprehensive immigration reform, according to new public opinion research. On a telephonic conference call today, pollsters Pete Brodnitz and Celinda Lake discussed their recent polls and focus groups probing voters’ attitudes on immigration reform, finding that the down economy is leading voters to even stronger support for action on comprehensive immigration reform. Immigration and political experts Simon Rosenberg and Frank Sharry said that the public opinion research, combined with a series of recent political developments, enhanced the prospects for legislative action on reform this year. The research clearly shows that Americans reject mass deportation and enforcement-only solutions in favor of a comprehensive approach that legalizes the undocumented workforce, levels the playing field, expands the tax base, and restore the rule of law.
“The conclusion from this new poll is clear – the American people want their badly broken immigration system fixed, and a strong majority supports the principles of what has been called Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” said Simon Rosenberg of NDN, a progressive think-tank and advocacy organization. “Unlike many other issues in front of Congress this year, the legislative approach to immigration reform has broad bipartisan public support. The conditions for passage of a bill this year are very favorable – more favorable in fact than most other legislation being discussed in Washington today – and it is our hope that Congress heeds the call of the American people and finally takes significant action to fix our broken immigration system this year.”
Pete Brodnitz, Principal of Benenson Strategy Group, noted that “Swing voters, such as those undecided on the 2010 Congressional race, overwhelmingly favor a comprehensive approach to immigration reform, with more than 8 in 10 supporting comprehensive reform, and argue that we would be better off if illegal immigrants became legal taxpayers and paid their fair share. Swing voters want to create a level playing field for all workers and honest businesses that are being undercut by unscrupulous businesses violating labor and tax laws.” The Benenson Strategy Group polling showed that, among all political parties, there is “widespread support for a comprehensive approach” to immigration reform and that voters “see a relationship between comprehensive immigration reform and the economy and perceive an economic and fiscal benefit to passing reform. In fact, the economic situation has increased the desire for quick action on immigration reform.”
Lake Research Partners similarly found in a series of focus groups that the “economy and all the other urgent problems currently facing the country have put voters into a more solution oriented frame of mind, continuing their receptiveness to comprehensive immigration reform.” Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research Partners, stated that “In this economy, voters are very focused on finding solutions to our problems. They support comprehensive immigration reform as a practical, common-sense solution and have no patience for politicians who want to point fingers and score points rather than fix the problem.”
On June 8th, the White House is set to meet with Congressional leaders to discuss moving legislation forward in 2009 and President Obama has consistently re-stated his pledge to address comprehensive immigration reform in Year One. Additionally, Congress has conducted multiple hearings on the need to fix the immigration system and leading policymakers such as Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have stated that “we can pass strong, fair, practical and effective immigration reform this year.” This new public opinion research, combined with these political dynamics, shows that moving forward on comprehensive immigration reform this year is both smart policy and smart politics.
“The public demand for action on illegal immigration has been underestimated for too long by the political class,” said Frank Sharry. “For many Americans, our failure to address immigration reform is a symbol of how Washington does not confront and solve tough problems. Comprehensive immigration reform is the most practical approach to fix our immigration system, deliver on campaign promises, and demonstrate to the American people that our leaders can step up to solve the big challenges of our time.”
Full polling summaries are available at http://americasvoiceonline.org/pages/polling.