A recent poll of 1,245 likely voters from progressive polling firm Data for Progress said that 70 percent of Americans would support an earned pathway to citizenship for DREAMers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, farmworkers and essential workers—a signal that there is more political support for some form of immigration reform in 2021 than what is usually reported.
According to the poll, 82 percent of Democrats favored such a solution, along with 75 percent of Independents. In addition, a majority of Republican voters —53 percent— expressed support, although 26 percent said they “strongly oppose” it.
Earlier in July, Gallup issued the latest version on how Americans view current levels of immigration. According to that poll, 33 percent of Americans think immigration levels should be increased, 35 percent feel it should stay at the same level and 31 percent say it should be decreased. In 2000, only 8 percent of Americans said that immigration levels should be decreased, while 58 percent said they should be decreased.
That same Gallup poll said that 75 percent of the country thinks that immigration is a good thing for the United States today, as opposed to 21 percent.
In media release response to both the Data for Progress and Gallup, Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice —one of the country’s leading advocacy groups for immigration reform— said the following:
The American people have been engaged in a fierce debate about immigrants and immigration for the past three decades. They have heard every argument from every angle, and, in the end, have reached a consensus. The overwhelming majority believe that immigration is good for America and that it’s time for Congress to recognize undocumented immigrants as the Americans they already are.
Democrats are gearing up to include pathways to citizenship in the Senate budget resolution expected to hit the Senate floor in August. This will make it possible to win a long-overdue breakthrough through a budget reconciliation process that depends on the pro-immigrant unity of Democrats, not the bad faith nativism of Republicans.
While some Beltway purveyors of conventional wisdom believe that immigration is a political winner for Republicans and a political loser for Democrats, evidence over the past four years of elections suggests just the opposite. After all, Trump nationalized the 2018 midterms and Republicans suffered the biggest midterm loss in history, and Trump ran on nativism in 2020 and lost to his proudly pro-immigrant opponent by 7 million votes.
On immigration, as on many other issues, the public is fed up with political gamesmanship. They want their elected leaders to enact solutions that change lives. If Democrats hang together and get this done, they will get the lion’s share of the credit. If they don’t, they will get the lion’s share of the blame.
This is the year. Democrats have a historic opportunity to keep their promises and deliver a popular solution strongly supported by Americans from across the political spectrum. They should seize it.
Julio Ricardo Varela is founder and publisher of Latino Rebels, part of Futuro Media. He tweets from @julito77.
Maybe limited. Only if the border was completely shut down.