Several new analyses and polls demonstrate that for a growing number of House Republicans and the Republican Party as a whole, immigration reform is not just the right thing to do, but also a matter of political survival.
According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:
We are closing in on those Republicans who are at ground zero of the immigration debate. These polls show that the west will be won by Members of Congress who show leadership in passing bipartisan immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for aspiring Americans. Representatives Denham, Valadao, and Nunes need to know that media appearances are not enough: the only thing that will move the needle for them among Latino voters and others in their districts is concrete action.
- New Polling in Three CA House Republican Districts Shows Immigration Reform Popular & Critical to Incumbents’ Political Futures: As POLITICO noted today, “A trio of polls in key GOP-held House districts being released Thursday show that voters overwhelmingly back immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, and suggest the Republican Party would improve its image in these predominantly Latino areas if Congress passes a rewrite of U.S. immigration laws. The polls, conducted in the districts of California Republican Reps. Jeff Denham, Devin Nunes and David Valadao on behalf of advocacy groups, are meant to pressure them on enacting immigration reform, which generated much momentum earlier this year but sputtered when the debate moved to the House. More than 70 percent of likely voters in all three districts said they would support a bill that mirrored the comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate in June, according to the polls. And in the three districts, 69 percent of voters said they would favor a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the United States, as long as the applicants paid fines, learned English, passed background checks, and waited at least 13 years. That’s the pathway sketched out in the Senate bill. All three districts, located in California’s Central Valley, have populations that are all at least 40 percent Latino. Valadao’s district is 70 percent Latino.”
According to the new polls conducted by Magellan Strategies, a Republican polling firm, the vast majority of likely voters in three Republican-held districts—CD-10, CD-21, and CD-22—support immigration reform that creates a path to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans. These findings confirm the results of hundreds of other surveys conducted over the past few years. The Magellan Strategies polls reveal something more about the political dynamics behind immigration reform. Americans are hungry for leadership, bipartisanship, and problem-solving. Voters in these districts would have a more favorable opinion of Republicans and Democrats if they actually work together to pass immigration reform. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Republican voters are just as supportive of immigration reform as Democrats and Independents in these districts. The hardcore anti-immigration voting bloc is simply not that large and not that powerful—even inside the GOP.
- New Analyses Show Failure of Republican Re-branding Efforts & Political Dangers for Growing Number of House Republicans Given Changing District Demographics: Several new analysis pieces published this week underscore the potential political consequences for the Republican Party if they fail to evolve on immigration. National Journal’s Beth Reinhard assesses the failure of Republican re-branding efforts to Latinos and other growing segments of the electorate noting, “In its latest party-building effort, the RNC hosted a Hispanic Heritage month reception Tuesday amid plans to dispatch field operatives to seven states with growing Hispanic populations. But against the backdrop of thousands of protestors on the National Mall demanding congressional Republicans take up immigration reform, it was the latest example of the national party making progress on mechanics, not messaging.” Reinhard quotes former Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno saying, “If someone feels we don’t want them here, the thrust of our principles will not get through and it will be very difficult to get a Republican president elected.” Reinhard also recaps Fortuno’s assessment that “the party’s outreach to the fastest-growing slice of the electorate will fall short without immigration reform passing Congress.”
Additionally, in a new POLITICO op-ed titled “Republicans Can’t Ignore Minority Voters,” demographics expert Rob Paral writes: “[a] recent Immigration Policy Center analysis of demographic and immigration trends shows that many Republican congressional districts are seeing their constituency profiles evolve dramatically, with emerging electorates that care deeply about immigration reform. In fact, according to my research, based on U.S. Census Bureau age and citizenship data, Asian and Latino youth and newly naturalized U.S. citizens will make up 34 percent of newly eligible voters at the time of the 2014 elections in 55 Republican-held congressional districts.”
“California GOP members and others in changing districts have a narrow window that will soon close — on their careers. Their own constituents support reform and like the rest of America, demand action from their Members of Congress. These representatives have a bipartisan bill they can sign onto today. And the votes exist in the House today to pass that bill. For political reasons as much as policy reasons, Reps. Denham, Valado, and Nunes should step up, put their name behind H.R. 15, and challenge their leadership to act swiftly on broad, bipartisan immigration reform. The demographics are relentless, and so is the pro-immigration movement,” Tramonte concluded.