“Office Hours” Immigration Week in Review
Recording of the call can be found here.
Washington, DC – In his address to a Joint Session of Congress, President Biden said, “The country supports immigration reform. Congress should act.” And he is right.
Earlier today, pollsters and key experts gathered on a weekly “Office Hours” press conference hosted by America’s Voice and the Immigration Hub to discuss how favorable the public opinion context is for President Biden’s push on a range of immigration issues.
Beatriz Lopez, Director of Political Research and Communications, the Immigration Hub (HUB), said, “It’s no secret that the GOP strategy of the past and today is to fill a vacuum on immigration and weaponize this issue to provoke fear and division and score political points. But here’s the rub: President Biden and Democrats have an opportunity to win this debate because the public supports their immigration solutions. They just gotta keep telling them what they are and deliver them – from citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, farm workers and immigrant workers to creating a new, orderly and fair process for those seeking asylum. Democrats can take this issue off the third rail and onto a ramp to success where they can effectively position themselves as the serious actors on fixing what is broken, inform voters, gain their support on solutions already popular, and lay the groundwork for 2022 and 2024.”
“I talked to a lot of reporters and what I find is that there is an assumption that because there are challenges on the border with migration that is translating to a lack of support for broader immigration reforms. These guys [on this call] will talk about the support for DREAM, TPS, citizenship for agricultural workers, and that support remains really high. While the Republicans have made clear that they will use the border as a political hammer on Democrats, the best response for Democrats is to go on offense. The Republican party had four years, didn’t solve the problem, made no significant progress and they aren’t sincere about solving problems now. Just like with COVID and infrastructure. As these problems compound, and the reforms haven’t been enacted, people want the problem solved. There is room for Democrats to embrace that as the message,” said Jennifer Palmieri, Democratic Strategist and former WH Communications Director for the Obama administration.
John Anzalone, Partner, ALG Research (ALG Research), said, “Americans, are often way ahead of politicians on policy. America has kind of been ready for immigration reform for a long time. It’s gotten stronger as time has gone by. But the fact is that when you take a look at the support for immigration reform as a package or individually it is incredibly high, it’s broad, it’s intense, and it’s bipartisan. For example, we tested a package of three things, kind of a smaller immigration package, where 74% of respondents said they support legislation that would create a path of citizenship for three different groups: One Dreamers, second Temporary Protected Status, and then farmers and essential workers. Seventy-four percent support that but the intensity I think is what’s really important here because that’s also where you get bipartisan support. Fifty percent strongly supported legislation that would create a pathway to citizenship for those three groups. But when you break those out the support is even higher: 83% of voters support a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, 84% support a path for TPS recipients, and 64% support a path for undocumented farmworkers and other essential workers. Again, the support is broad, it’s intense, and it’s bipartisan. Notably I would say that in the package that we talked about 53% of Republicans support this. But even when you kind of step back and look at kind of broader immigration reform, 60% of voters support creating a path of citizenship for all undocumented immigrants who can pass a background check.”
“I want to reiterate in all the polling that we’ve done, that the border situation isn’t affecting support for citizenship. Voters, first and foremost, are looking for solutions more than anything. They see immigration as broken, that’s why broad reform is popular. The solutions that Biden is pushing are very popular, and as voters learn more about it we have the opportunity to sway public opinion. The Democratic approach is to solve the problem, which is a popular idea and concept, more popular than the Republican approach of ‘crackdown crackdown crackdown.’ Fifty-eight percent of voters say that the best solution is to reform our immigraition system to be more humane and effectively process the immigrants, while only 42% say that increased security is the solution. Prioritizing keeping families together, increasing opportunities for asylum applications to take place in home countries, all of the broader reforms are more popular than Trump’s policy. Republicans are seen as obstructing solutions that Biden is proposing, rather than solving the problem,” said Nick Gourevitch, Partner and Managing Director, Research, Global Strategy Group (GSG).
Matt Barreto, Founding Partner and President, BSP Research (BSP Research), said “It is important to note the continued consistency that we’re seeing nationwide for the immigration agenda before Congress, which is especially strong among Latino voters. In addition to the general support numbers among Americans, this is an opportunity to really solidify the Latino vote who strongly support the Biden immigration agenda. What we learned in this last election is that Latinos are a swing vote, they are persuasion targets, they are a fast growing and new electorate who are constantly looking for new information and policy cues from our leaders. Over 85% of Latino voters in the polling support the DREAM Act, support the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, and support citizenship for undocumented essential workers. Many Latino voters live in households where undocumented, essential workers went back to work to keep the country running during the pandemic. And so, this is an issue that can deeply resonate and mobilize our community.”
“But if there is inaction, there’s also some risk to Democrats because 76% of Latino voters told us they would be upset if immigration reform doesn’t pass, including 40% who would be very upset. Sixty-three percent of Latino voters said that they would vote against the Senator who tends to block immigration reform. This is an issue we have been talking about for a long time, we now have an opportunity to really lead and fix it. That is something that the Latino electorate recognizes; they recognize that right now Democrats are the party that are working on this and that Republicans are the party that are doing nothing. And Democrats will get far more credit if this passes. It is clear that if the vote moves forward, if these measures pass that it is Biden and Democrats who are seen as working towards solutions and working towards a fix.”