Poll: Immigration Reform? Get it Done, Congress
SEATTLE - Today, immigration reform advocates are showing up at four local offices of Washington's congressional delegation. Over the weekend, multiple events were held to keep the pressure on Congress to fix the nation's immigration system, now that a bill (S 744) with some momentum is on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
A new poll taken recently in 29 states suggests that a majority of people support the plan drafted by the bipartisan "Gang of Eight." Tom Jensen, director, Public Policy Polling, said their party affiliation did not seem to matter in people's responses.
"It's gotten a little depressing over the last few years in most of our issue polling, because everything we poll, either Democrats support it and Republicans don't, or Republicans support it and Democrats don't. It's a little bit uplifting to actually see something that Democrats and Republicans agree on," Jensen said.
The poll was taken by two firms, one Republican and one Democratic, and did not include Washington state. Overall, about 68 percent of respondents said they would support the "Gang of Eight" proposal. The bill still has a long haul, though, in the House as well as the Senate.
The proposal being debated this week includes a major investment in increased border enforcement, along with reform of the worker visa program and steps that those already in the U.S. must take in order to earn citizenship in a rigorous process that would take more than a decade. Frank Sharry, executive director, America's Voice, said he believes combining those three elements has prompted the widespread support.
"They've really got the policy right, and the American people recognize it. They're not experts on the policy, but they get it - if we do the right things, we can be a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws, rather than neither," Sharry said.
In 2011, the Pew Hispanic Center estimated that 230,000 immigrants living in Washington are not in the U.S. legally and could benefit from the reform legislation. They make up about 3.5 percent of the state's population and a little more than 5 percent of the work force.
The full poll results are online at http://americasvoiceonline.org. The poll was co-sponsored by the Alliance for Citizenship, Partnership for a New American Economy and Republicans for Immigration Reform.