After Arizona, Public in General, and Latinos in Particular, Want Action on Immigration Reform

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Marjorie Valbrun
202-463-8602 x305
press@americasvoiceonline.org

After Arizona, Public in General, and Latinos in Particular, Want Action on Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON - New
analysis of the role Latino voters will play in contested races this
November and new independent polling by the New York Times and CBS News
point to the fact that moving forward on immigration reform would be
both good politics for Democrats and broadly supported by the public. 

The new
analysis
by Public Policy Polling (PPP) notes that Democratic Senators Harry
Reid (D-NV) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) are underperforming among Latinos
in their re-election campaigns when compared with President Obama's
performance in their states in 2008.  PPP notes
that "simply matching Obama's level of support among Hispanics in their
state" would "take 5 points off Reid's current polling deficit, about
half of the margin in most polls.  And it would give Bennet a two point
advantage in our numbers, enough to turn a tie into a small lead."  The
pollsters also note that the signer of the new controversial Arizona
immigration law, Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ) "may well have handed Reid
and Bennet the issue that will get Hispanics back to voting Democratic
at the same levels they did in 2008." 

These
findings are consistent with recent analysis
by America's Voice, which examined 42 U.S. Senate, House, and
gubernatorial races where Latino voters can make a difference in 2010
and found that immigration issues help drive Latino political
engagement.  Following a weekend in which more than 500,000 people
attended more than 90 rallies across the nation to march
in favor of immigration reform and in opposition to the new Arizona
immigration law, the new politics of immigration are coming into sharp
relief. 

Meanwhile,
a new New York Times/CBS News poll shows
that Americans remain conflicted about the new Arizona law, but continue
to support reform that includes a path to legal status.  Frustration
with the status quo comes through loud and clear: "Just 8 percent of
Americans said the immigration system needed only minor changes.  The
vast majority said it needed reworking, including 44 percent who said it
needed to be completely rebuilt and 45 percent who said it needed
fundamental changes."  Voters are so frustrated that half of those
polled are sympathetic to the Arizona law. 

But
underneath the headlines about Arizona, the poll demonstrates broad support for a path to legal status for the undocumented -
a full 64% of respondents supported options to either allow the
undocumented to "stay and apply for citizenship" (43%) or "stay as guest
workers" (21%), while only 32% supported the enforcement-only option,
"require to leave jobs and the U.S."  These findings are consistent with past polling.

According
to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice, "The politics
of immigration reform may seem obscure to some, but to us the message is
clear: Latinos see immigration reform as the defining issue, and the
public supports immigration reform that includes a path to legal
status.  As we head into midterm season, most politicians run for cover.
 But Democrats interested in running on results and Republicans
interested in rehabilitating their brand with the fastest-growing group
of voters should come together to enact comprehensive immigration reform
this year.  So far, the Senate Democrats have stepped up.  So far, the
Republicans have stepped back.  The clock is ticking."

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America's Voice -- Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform. The mission of America’s Voice is to realize the promise of workable and humane comprehensive immigration reform. Our goal is to build the public support and create the political momentum for reforms that will transform a dysfunctional immigration system that does not work into a regulatory system that does.

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