Poll: Republicans Overwhelmingly Support Immigration Reform

Image: Poll: Republicans Overwhelmingly Support Immigration Reform Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., center, speaks on immigration reform legislation outlined by the Senate's bipartisan "Gang of Eight" that would create a path for the nation's 11 million unauthorized immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship on April 18 on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Wednesday, 01 May 2013 04:41 PM

By Greg Richter

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Two-thirds of Republicans support the immigration reform bill introduced in the Senate by the "Gang of Eight," according to a new poll.

Fewer than one in four likely voters who identify themselves as Republicans think immigration is bad for America, the poll found, though 82 percent think the current system is broken.

Seventy-two percent of GOP voters want broad immigration reforms, the poll found, and seventy-one percent believe the Gang of Eight bill will strengthen border security.

While 31 percent of Republicans think immigration is good for America, less than the 44 percent overall — and only 24 percent of Republicans — think it is bad for the country. Fifteen percent overall think it is bad.

Conservatives are most likely to call for a complete overhaul of the immigration system. Forty-one percent of conservatives surveyed hold that opinion, compared to 32 percent of moderates and 26 percent of liberals.

Respondents were told that a bipartisan group of senators had introduced legislation to reform the immigration system with a plan that establishes border security focused on high-risk areas of the border, requires illegal immigrants to pass multiple criminal background checks, pay fines, learn English and pay taxes before getting in line for citizenship, makes E-Verify mandatory for all employers, and creates a new work visa program.

Seventy-eight percent of Republicans supported that plan, with conservatives and tea party votes favoring it more than moderates and liberals.

The poll was conducted April 22-23 by The Winston Group. It was commissioned by The Partnership for a New American Economy, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform and Ali Noorani from the National Immigration Forum.

"This survey is further evidence that there is a broad, bipartisan consensus for comprehensive immigration reform and the Gang of Eight's bill is widely viewed as the best way to achieve it," said Jeremy Robbins, Director of the Partnership for a New American Economy in a prepared statement.

"A growing number of Republicans are speaking out in favor of comprehensive immigration reform because they realize that our current system is broken," said Justin Sayfie, former spokesman for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

"The Gang of Eight’s sensible approach significantly enhances national security by strengthening both worksite enforcement and border security. The legislation will also help grow our economy by ensuring that U.S. businesses are able to attract and retain talented individuals.”

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