Press Release: New Poll Shows Significant Support Among Majority of Republicans for Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation

April 25, 2013

Survey Finds 67 Percent of Republicans Support the Senate Gang of Eight’s Immigration Bill; Americans Believe Reform Will Help Bolster U.S. Economy

WASHINGTON, DC — In conjunction with Americans for Tax Reform, the Partnership for a New American Economy and the National Immigration Forum Action Fund released poll findings today showing strong support among Republicans — and Americans generally — for the Senate Gang of Eight’s bipartisan immigration reform bill that was introduced last week. After hearing a detailed description of the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act,” in addition to common arguments from both proponents and opponents, 67 percent of Republican respondents said they supported the legislation — with 74 percent of Americans overall expressing support for the bill.

Full survey results are available here.

“It’s clear that Americans across the country, including the overwhelmingly majority of Republicans, are fed up with an immigration system that is holding back our economy and hasn’t been updated since the age of black-and-white TVs,” said Partnership for a New American Economy Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “Our current immigration laws are no longer sustainable — especially when it comes to the needs of America’s 21st century economy — and people of all political stripes recognize that.”

“The clear message of this poll is that inaction is not an option,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum Action Fund. “Across the political spectrum, the American public wants leaders in Congress to fix our immigration system. This poll shows that lawmakers can stand for accountable and long-term solutions, including a tough but fair road to citizenship, and still win support from the majority of voters, including Republican voters.”

According to the survey, 74 percent of Americans — including 82 percent of Republicans — believe that current U.S. immigration laws are working poorly. As a result, there is a strong desire among voters, and especially Republicans, to make significant changes to the system: 72 percent of Republicans want to see either “a lot of changes” or a “complete overhaul.” Other findings include:

  • Bipartisan immigration reform will bolster the economy: 61 percent of Republicans believe the Gang of Eight’s bill will help the U.S. economy.
  • Republicans support a market-based approach to our immigration system: 62 percent of Republicans support the bill’s proposal to tie the amount of legal immigration to the state of the U.S. economy in order to attract more immigrant entrepreneurs and innovators — and meet the demands of our economy.
  • There is broad support for a tough but fair pathway to citizenship for those who are here illegally: 85 percent of Republicans — 79 percent of Americans overall ñ support the bill’s provisions that require immigrants who are here illegally to register for legal status, pay fines, learn English, pay taxes, and wait in the back of the line to apply for citizenship until everyone who is currently in line to legally enter the country gets in.
  • Lawmakers stand to gain support from their Republican constituents for backing comprehensive immigration reform: By a more than 4-1 margin, Republicans said they would have a more favorable opinion of their Member of Congress rather than a less favorable opinion if they were to support the bipartisan Gang of Eight plan (49%-11%).

The national survey of 800 registered voters, with an oversample of Republicans, was conducted by the Winston Group on behalf of Americans for Tax Reform, the Partnership for a New American Economy, and the National Immigration Forum Action Fund. Live-telephone interviews took place between April 22-23, 2013.

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About the Partnership for a New American Economy

The Partnership for a New American Economy brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic, and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today. The Partnershipís members include mayors of more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies that generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy. Partnership members understand that immigration is essential to maintaining the productive, diverse and flexible workforce that America needs to ensure prosperity over the coming generations. Learn more at www.RenewOurEconomy.org.

About the National Immigration Forum Action Fund

The National Immigration Forum Action Fund works to increase the profile of policy issues that matter to immigrants and immigration. The primary purpose of the Fund is not on partisan political activity, but rather to work closely with key constituencies and elected and appointed policymakers from across the political spectrum to forge practical, common-sense solutions to fix our broken immigration system. The Action Fund complements the work of our affiliated organization, the National Immigration Forum, which advocates for the value of immigrants and immigration to our nation. America has been a land of opportunity for immigrants from across the globe. Our country grew and prospered because we welcomed ambitious and hard-working immigrants who helped grow local economies, shared their culture, and helped define the American tradition.