Most Republicans Support the Senate Gang of Eight’s Immigration Bill

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 currentU.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:


Migrant workers at root of healthy US agriculture economy

Mary Jo Dudley, director of the Cornell Farmworker Program, is an expert on issues affecting immigrant labor who conducts research on immigrant workers, farmworkers, migration from Latin America and immigrant communities in theUnited States. An advisor to the White House on issues of concern to farmworkers, Dudley comments on renewed efforts in Congress to pass comprehensive immigration law reform:

“Farmworkers and farm owners alike eagerly await an immigration reform that will provide a reasonable path to legalization for the current farm labor force.

“Nationwide, over half of the farm labor force –1 million farmworkers – are believed to be undocumented. For many farmworkers, the absence of legal status has a seriously detrimental impact on their lives. In our research with farmworkers, many say they are afraid to leave their homes for fear of being detained and deported. Farm employers also express concern that their workforce may not be properly documented. In this context, the labor force is unstable and both the daily operations of the farm and longer-term planning become extremely difficult.

“Public discussions regarding immigrant workers often uncover the opinion that these jobs should be filled by local workers. However, employers struggled financially under the high turnover rate of local workers before the immigrant workforce arrived to Upstate New York. These workers make meaningful contributions to the viability of farms without undermining access to employment for local residents. In fact, by helping to keep farms in operation, they are enabling the growth of the dairy processing industry and the creation of local jobs in plants and business management.

“The continued success of agriculture absolutely requires the enactment of immigration legislation that will provide an expedited path to legalization for the current skilled agricultural workforce and their families.”

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