A new poll commissioned by a set of conservative organizations has found wide support among Republicans for the comprehensive immigration reform package introduced in the Senate last week.
The poll, headed by Grover Norquist’s pro-immigration Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and also partially commissioned by the National Immigration Forum Action Fund and the Partnership for a New American Economy found 74 percent of Americans and 82 percent of Republicans believe that the immigration system is broken. Presented with the specifics of the bill — one in which border security would be established, fines, taxes, and background checks would be enforced, E-Verify would be imposed, and learning English would be a requirement before an applicant applies for citizenship — Republican support goes from 78 percent to 87 percent.
On the issue of border security, 74 percent of Republicans strongly support the bill that would include a way to track all inbound and outbound immigrants and enforce absolute border surveillance. E-Verify, which is utilized by employers to verify an employee’s legal status, garners greater bipartisan support with 64 percent of voters and 74 percent of Republicans indicating strong support for its inclusion in the bill. When asked whether they felt that immigration reform would help or hurt the economy, 61 percent of Republicans believe that the proposal would help the economy.
The message here is that Republicans nationwide do support immigration reform, but much of the fervor surrounding immigration reform extrapolates from the extreme right-wing elements. This also indicates that if conservative members of the Gang of Eight experience backlash, it will come not from the American people, but from the minority in a party largely dominated by immigration reform supporters.