New poll: American voters favor immigration reform to enforcement

New polling data released by America’s Voice suggests that comprehensive immigration reform is more important to voters than candidates for national office made it out to be leading up to the Nov. 4 general election. The group unveiled the data at a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

Conducted by Lake Research Partners and Benenson Strategy Group, the poll revealed most Americans (78 percent) consider illegal immigration a serious issue — one that must be dealt with by enacting comprehensive reform (57 percent), not the enforcement-only approach favored by some Republicans (28 percent).

The economy was the top issue for most voters polled, but a majority (62 percent) also believe the country would be better off if people who are in the United States illegally stayed, worked legally and became taxpayers rather than leave the country because they are taking away American jobs (21 percent).

“Voters overwhelmingly say they prefer a comprehensive solution to one that is piecemeal, and they see a comprehensive solution as consistent with helping the economy,” Pete Brodnitz, a principal at Benenson Strategy Group, said in a release.

Attending Thursday’s event, Janet Murguia, president and CEO of National Council of La Raza, said the Republican Party’s misreading of this issue helped lead to Democratic dominance on Nov. 4, particularly in swing states like Colorado.

“When immigration is part of the political debate, as it has been the past few years, it becomes a test by which Latinos gauge how politicians and parties regard us. It’s a civil rights issue as much as a debate about policy to Latinos,” Murguia said.

“Stirring up anti-immigrant rhetoric does not work, but it has energized one group – Latinos,” she added. “Latinos made their voices heard in this election and played a decisive role, especially in the four states of Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Nevada.”

For presentations made at Thursday’s event in Washington, go to America’s Voice Online.org.

is an award-winning reporter who has covered energy, environmental and political issues for years. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. He's founder of Real Vail and Real Aspen.

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