"Improved" NV Prospects for Immigration Reform
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Could comprehensive immigration reform still be possible? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says it could happen soon. On the heels of President Obama's victory, in which polls show he garnered 80 percent support among Nevada Latinos, Reid says the Senate should expect to vote on immigration reform in the coming year.
University of Nevada-Las Vegas Associate Professor David Damore says the latest Latino Decisions poll indicates there is wide support for tackling the issue now.
"Clearly the voters at this point want some sort of comprehensive immigration reform - passage of the Dream Act, perhaps, as a first step - as the vast majority of Latinos know somebody who would be positively affected by that legislation."
The impreMedia Latino Decisions poll found that 68 percent of Nevada Latinos believe Obama truly cares about their community. The same poll found that only 17 percent of Nevada Latinos backed Mitt Romney. Reids's GOP counterpart in the House, Speaker John Boehner, now says immigration reform should be a priority for 2013.
Damore says Nevada Republicans could gain traction with Latino voters, but they have to reconsider some of their more conservative positions.
"A lot of Latinos are Republican - 20 percent in Nevada - and about 10 percent are nonpartisan, so they're looking for whatever politicians will address the issues that they want in a positive way."
Reid says he only needs a few Republicans to cross the aisle in order to pass immigration reform, but Damore says it is a hard road for many in the GOP.
"So many of the Republicans have taken such far-right positions on that issue - voter protection and deportation policy only - that it's very, very difficult for them in a general election to move back to the center."
The same poll finds that 67 percent of Latino voters in Nevada know someone who is undocumented.
The full report is available at www.latinodecisions.com.