This morning at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Reform Immigration for America launched its nationwide effort to bring “together individuals and grassroots organizations with the mission to build support for workable comprehensive immigration reform.” The campaign is being led by various labor, policy and activist groups such as the AFL-CIO, the Services Employees International Union, the NAACP, the Center for American Progress, the National Immigration Forum and the National Council of La Raza.
In fact, support for immigration reform is already gaining momentum. A Pew Research Center for the People and Press “Trends in Core Values 1987 to 2009” report released last month found that “by nearly two to one (63 percent to 34 percent), most [Americans] favor a way for illegal immigrants in the United States to gain legal citizenship if they meet certain conditions, including passing background checks and paying fines.” Indeed, a number of recent polls echo these sentiments:
— April 24, 2009 Washington Post/ABC News Poll: Sixty-one percent of those polled support “a program giving illegal immigrants now living in the United States the right to live here legally if they pay a fine and meet other requirements.”
— April 2009 New York Times/CBS News Poll: Forty-four percent of respondents support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, up from 38 percent in December 2007.
A new national poll released just yesterday found that nearly two-thirds of voters (64 percent) support comprehensive reform. But when given specific details of what that reform entails — including securing the border, cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants, requiring immigrants to register for status, pay back taxes and learn English — 86 percent offered their support. Moreover, the poll respondents perceived “an economic and fiscal benefit to immigration reform and want Congress to address the economy and immigration reform simultaneously.”
The Times/CBS poll also found that 59 percent believe that President Obama was at least “somewhat likely” to “bring about significant immigration reform in his first term.” And it appears that Obama is planning on getting started. Politico reported last month that he will be inviting members of Congress to the White House in the coming weeks to “highlight immigration reform.” “The meeting will be an opportunity to launch a policy conversation that we hope will be able to start a debate that will take place in Congress later in the year,” an administration official said.