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Sunday Show: Path to Citizenship Winning Popularity and Enthusiasm Contests in Immigration Debate

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With the introduction of House and Senate immigration bills imminent, new developments this week continue to showcase the broad public consensus and enthusiasm behind passing common sense immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. As a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll and a jubilant rally at the U.S. Capitol make clear, the energy and enthusiasm in the debate stands squarely on the side of citizenship.

  • Poll finds broad popular support for path to earned citizenship: As Mark Murray of NBC News writes about the new poll, “With a bipartisan group of senators expected to unveil immigration-reform legislation in the next few days, a brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that nearly two-thirds of Americans – including eight in 10 Latinos – support giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship…64 percent of respondents say they favor allowing undocumented immigrants to have the opportunity to become legal American citizens.  That includes 82 percent of Latinos, 80 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of political independents supporting a path to citizenship.”
  • Republicans overwhelmingly support citizenship when the requirements are described: When first asked, Republican respondents opposed a path to citizenship by a narrow 47-51 percent margin.  However, as Murray writes, “when told that the pathway to citizenship would require paying fines and back taxes, as well as passing a security-background check, support grows – with 76 percent of total respondents, and 73 percent of Republicans backing the path.”  This finding echoes those of  Resurgent Republic, a Republican-allied public opinion research group, who last month released findings of four immigration focus groups conducted with Republican caucus and primary voters in Iowa and South Carolina.  The researchers found that “[a] pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants is acceptable to Republican primary voters if it is an earned process and fair to those who are already legally in the system.”
  • Additionally, support for citizenship– not “amnesty”– is good politics for the Republican party:  As Jordan Fabian of ABC/Univision writes, “GOP politicians and opinion leaders for years railed against a path to citizenship, saying it’s tantamount to ‘amnesty’ that would automatically grant citizenship to the undocumented. But once Republicans hear what is in the proposals being considered by Congress, it doesn’t sound like amnesty anymore.”  Said Republican pollster John McLaughlin “One of the key things for Republicans is to get the idea out that there are all these conditions in here and it’s not amnesty.”
  • Energy in immigration debate clearly on side of pro-reform, pro-citizenship movement:  One only has to look at the thousands gathering on the National Mall yesterday to see that the enthusiasm and energy resides on the pro-reform side.  As New York Times editorial writer Lawrence Downes noted, “The expected crowd was officially 30,000, though it seemed as if thousands more than that poured in all day.  By midafternoon they spilled beyond the reflecting pool and down the National Mall.  Up the steps behind them, Senate staff members were inside working through an immigration bill, line by line, as they had done the night before and days before that, under enormous pressure to get the bill done this week.  Outside, on the grass: the pressure.”  Said rally participant and DREAMer, Hareth Andrades, “My parents were the first Dreamers; they gave up their education in Bolivia so we would have a better life, and I would not be here if it weren’t for them…I need to fight for them.”

America’s Voice Education Fund — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform