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Poll: NC Voters Back Bipartisan Senate Immigration Bill

June 17, 2013

RALEIGH, N.C. - More than half of North Carolina voters support the bipartisan immigration reform bill making some progress in the U.S. Senate, according to a survey of almost 800 people in the state. The poll said both Democrats and Republicans favor the legislation that will be debated on the Senate floor this week.

Dana Cope, executive director, State Employees Association of North Carolina, said it has taken some time for people to realize the economic value that immigrants bring to the state.

"The reason why is because undocumented workers are in the shadows right now," he said, "but they provide a great deal to North Carolina's economy. They're in small businesses; they harvest our agricultural products."

According to the Immigration Policy Center, Washington, D.C., the purchasing power of North Carolina's Latino immigrants totaled $14 billion in 2012. The current proposal by the so-called "Gang of Eight" senators includes a path to citizenship if a long list of requirements is met. It would allow most of the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants to apply for citizenship within the next 13 years.

Last week in the Senate, the bill survived a challenge by some Republican lawmakers trying to amend the path to citizenship. Tom Jensen, director, Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling, said the poll results show North Carolina voters appreciate that the bill covers not only border security, but what to do for people who are already here.

"One thing that came across in all of these was that not only do voters favor the 'Gang of Eight' bill, but they really, strongly favor this 'tough but fair' path to citizenship," Jensen said.

Charles Spies, co-founder and treasurer of Republicans for Immigration Reform, a political action committee, said the pollsters found bipartisan support in other states, too - as well as a sense of impatience with Congress.

"This shows that Republican voters across 29 states overwhelmingly support the bipartisan approach of the 'Gang of Eight' bill - and also believe that it's time to get it done," Spies said.

Eighty-seven percent of those polled in North Carolina said it is "somewhat important" or "very important" that the U.S. fix its immigration system this year.

The full poll results are available at

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC