The poll conducted by Politico found that 71 percent of the likely voters surveyed said they support comprehensive immigration reform. The divisions along party lines were not as stark as one might believe. Among Republicans, 68 percent approved of immigration reform while 74 percent of Democrats were in favor over an overhaul. Not surprisingly, nine out of ten Latinos said they support changes to immigration reform.
Forty-one percent of Latino voters said they “strongly support” comprehensive immigration reform with 17 percent of white and African-Americans agreeing.
Previous polls have yielded similar results, but this poll aimed to see how a candidate’s support for immigration reform would impact the upcoming November elections.
The poll asked respondents how immigration reform would impact their vote in the November elections. Eighty-five percent of Latinos said it was important to help them decide which candidate to vote for while 53 percent said it was “very important.” Support for candidates that back immigration reform was strongest among whites with 73 percent saying it was “important.” Fifty-eight percent of African Americans also said reform is “important.”
The poll reflected relatively low opposition to reform with only 28 percent of respondents overall expressing their lack of support.
Although this poll mirrors results from other polls, it may be the impetus Republicans need to get to work on immigration reform. Congress has until August when they break for recess to pass immigration reform legislation, but there is no indication the House is still not ready to tackle the issue. Some lawmakers have insisted it would be better to tackle reform after the after the November elections when they believe they will take back the Senate.
If the House does decide to tackle immigration reform they likely back increased border security, an increase in visas for highly-skilled immigrants, and an opportunity for some immigrants to attain legal status. But Republicans have been clear they will not approve of citizenship for undocumented immigrants who overstayed their visas or crossed the borders illegally.
In the absence of immigration reform, President Obama has threatened to use his executive powers to give some immigrants relief from deportation. He has already ordered Department of Homeland Security to review deportation policies and make changes that treat immigrants more humanely.
The president has acknowledge that he cannot do much in the way of reforming immigration laws without Congress but said he isn’t afraid to use his executive powers where he can, which may include extending deportation relief for some family members of DREAMERs.
Immigration reform will give many undocumented immigrants the opportunity to work and live in the U.S. legally, but reform won’t make the system of legal immigration less complicated. Obtaining a visa, green card or citizenship can be simplified when an individual retains and immigration attorney. Filling out applications and providing documents to immigration is just one stage in the process, there are many instances where an immigration attorney will be instrumental in convincing authorities their client’s deserve to be granted legal status.