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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
HomeOpinionAmericans Support Immigration Reform, But Border Must Be Secure First

Americans Support Immigration Reform, But Border Must Be Secure First

In the debate over immigration reform, the narrative is being cemented that it is the GOP against the world, and the GOP against itself. Instead of hyperbole, I figured it was about time to look Inside the Numbers in order to get a more comprehensive understanding of the debate dynamic. 

In a recent survey, Gallup found that a majority of Americans would vote for each of the 6 different policies that Congress is considering as part of a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Unlike the all or nothing mentality on Capitol Hill, support ranges from a high of 87% for a multifaceted pathway to citizenship that includes a long waiting period, taxes and a penalty, background checks, and learning English. A far lower degree of support – 53% – would be for a law that would vary the number of immigrants the U.S. lets into the country, depending on economic conditions in America.

On June 11, Rasmussen released a survey, Unlike Senate ‘Gang of Eight,’ Voters Put More Border Control First, which found that enhanced border security remains the number one immigration issue with a majority of American voters but is a secondary issue for many supporters of the Senate Gang of Eight immigration reform bill.

While it may seem that Gallup and Rasmussen are a bit contradictory, in truth, it is nothing more than the way the pollster asked the questions in the survey. When we look Inside the Numbers on a partisan basis, we find that there is a significant dynamic that is missing from the public debate.

Democrats and Republicans largely agree on many of the key components of immigration reform, although Senate Democrats are not reflective of their constituencies’ views. In truth, there are many in the Democratic Party that are more in line with the GOP on immigration reform than they are with their party leaders, and some are against the measure altogether.

On 3 of the 6 questions, the Democratic voter appears to agree more with the GOP voter, whom of which have leaders representing their majority view. This is no doubt in large part due to two groups that are a big portion of the Democratic coalition – labor unions and black voters.

The Black American Leadership Alliance has organized the DC March for Jobs protest to demand members of Congress reject amnesty, while labor unions are outraged because they understand that it is big business ho truly wants the Senate immigration reform bill to pass. Labor unions have been siding with the conservative studies, and the reason is that they know that immigration reform in its current form will drive wages down for the American worker.

Key findings in the Gallup survey includes the largest difference between Democrats’ and Republicans’ views is found on the proposed measure to require employers to check the status of employees they hire. A whole 90% of Republicans support such a proposal, compared with 74% of Democrats – a 16-percentage-point gap that still reflects a wide agreement. In addition, while 81% of Democrats support border security proposals such as increasing the resources provided to the Border Patrol, Republicans, at 95%, support it almost universally. Again, a double-digit difference – 14% – but nonetheless enjoys broad support.

Despite how the debate on immigration reform has been framed in the media and by talking heads in the Washington Beltway, it appears that perhaps the story is less about the “GOP against the world, and the GOP against itself” – but rather a significant portion of America is in agreement with these proposals outlined by the “right-wing” of the GOP. Many of whom, including labor unions and black voters, are typically solid, reliable lockstep constituencies, but they clearly oppose the Senate Gang of Eight immigration reform bill in its current form.

Written by

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

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