GOP voters ready for immigration reform

 

Immigration reform has more traction with Republican voters than you’d imagine from listening to some talk show hosts and bloggers. A poll out Wednesday shows the gap between the noisemakers and voters on the right.

GOP pollster and consultant Jon Lerner surveyed 1,000 Republican primary voters. Asked to choose between leaving the immigration system as it is and “passing new laws that are not perfect, but do attempt to fix the serious flaws in the current system,” Republicans chose imperfect solutions over the status quo by a massive margin: 78 percent to 14 percent. The majority includes primary voters who self-identify as supporters of the tea party movement and some daily Fox News watchers.

Seventy percent of Republicans surveyed support a proposal that: 1) increases border security; 2) requires employers to verify the legal status of job seekers; and 3) establishes a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants here, as long as they pass a criminal background check and pay a fine. Sixty-five percent support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants if it is coupled with substantially increased border security. An additional 8 percent support a pathway to citizenship even without increased border security. (Twenty-one percent said they oppose citizenship under all circumstances.)

In other words, if House Republicans are concerned about voters back home, they should get cracking on immigration reform. Even on border security worries, GOP primary voters said their concerns would be reduced by “increases in border personnel and equipment (75 percent), and homeland security certification (68 percent).”

Seventy-one percent of respondents “support increasing the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country who have advanced skills in engineering, math, science, and technology.” And 56 percent “support increasing the number of legal immigrants who come here as guest workers filling lower skill job openings in industries like agriculture and construction.”

Lawmakers who listen only to the echo chamber risk being out of sync with their party’s base. GOP governors, who are most adept at reading their voters, get this; it’s why so many of them support immigration reform. (Another reason might be that immigration reform can add substantially to state coffers without raising taxes.) The question is whether House Republicans are as keenly in touch with actual voters.

© 2013, The Washington Post

Read more From Our Inbox stories from the Miami Herald

  • There’s a better way to rescue Malaysia Airlines

    On Friday, Khazanah Nasional, the parent company of Malaysian Airline System, announced the airline’s fourth and most radical restructuring since its founding in 1972. This one, too, is likely to fail. The real challenge, though, isn’t overcoming the twin tragedies of MH370 and MH17 and the loss of passenger confidence (and ticket revenue) that followed. Rather, the problem is the spectacular growth of Southeast Asian discount airlines, which have wreaked havoc on state-subsidized flag carriers such as Malaysia Airlines that used to have the region all to themselves.

  • Between Godliness and Godlessness

    Almost midway through Sam Harris’ new book, Waking Up, he paints a scene that will shock many of his fans, who know him as one of the country’s most prominent and articulate atheists.

  • There is no free pass for a free press

    New York Times reporter James Risen may soon have to decide whether to testify in a criminal trial or go to jail for contempt of court.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category