Thursday, June 13, 2013

Will They Let It Pass?

We've been talking quite a bit lately about what DC politicians want to do on immigration reform... But what about the people? What do Nevada voters have to say on the comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) legislation making its way through Congress? Fortunately, we now have answers.

PLAN recently ordered a poll... With the Alliance for Citizenship (PLAN's national partner on immigration reform), Partnership for a New American Economy, and Republicans for Immigration Reform! And they used Harper Polling, a Republican aligned pollster. Here's what they found.

“The results of this statewide poll should be yet another indication to our elected officials in Washington that their constituents want, and are ready for, a real and lasting solution to mend our broken immigration system,” said Laura Martin, Communications Director for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. “Comprehensive immigration reform is one of the rare issues that is both good politics and good policy. There is bipartisan support for the Senate bill that includes a path to citizenship.”

According to the poll, voters in Nevada support the Gang of Eight bill by large margins. Moreover, the results show that there is a genuine imperative for Senator Dean Heller to support the bill as constituents said they are more likely to vote for an elected official who votes for reform.

Highlights of the findings include:

64% of those polled said they strongly or somewhat support bipartisan immigratoin reform legislation being debated in Washington

71% of those polled said they strongly or somewhat support a bill that includes a tough but fair path to citizenship

57% of those polled are more likely to vote for an elected official who supports comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship

Well, this explains Senator Dean Heller's (R) recent behavior. And to drive this message even closer to home, the pro-reform coalition who released the new poll numbers also organized a call today with three prominent Nevada Republicans. University Regent Mike Wixom, Former Clark County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury (R), and Former Governor Bob List (R) all explained this morning why they support S 744. Woodbury went into depth on border security and immigration law enforcement, and List then backed him up with this statement.

"Anyone calling this amnesty is making a big mistake. This is not amnesty. One must pay a fine and earn a path to citizenship."

List then discussed S 744's provisions on Visa reform. He, in particular, honed in on the bill's call for more Visas for science and technology workers, as well as for more agricultural workers.

Earlier in the call, Mike Wixom discussed the human aspect of reform. He reminded the audience that nesrly all of us come from families of immigrants. And he honed in on opportunities for DREAMers and children of undocumented immigrants to further their educstion and build better lives.

And this is just Nevada. In addition to this, the coalition worked with Harper and Democratic aligned Public Policy Polling to release polls on CIR from 28 other states showing similar results. For all 29 states, specific support for S 744 averages just above 67%. So there's broad support for CIR, at least among the people.

But what about Congress? Well, that's more complicated. Even as the Senate bill progresses, the House is edging closer to giving up on CIR entirely. Remember when Rep. Joe Heck (R-Henderson) sounded willing to give CIR a try? Where is he now? Where is he now that his Iowa Republican colleague (Steve King) is complaining that "illegal aliens have just invaded" his office?

And where is Senator Heller now? Oh, he's throwing a temper tantrum over the procedural side tracking of his amendments. And this is on top of Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) is throwing his own temper tantrum and (again) threatening to kill his own bill if LGBTQ families are included in the bill. Wow, what a way for Republicans to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month! (/snark)

So will S 744 pass? Can it pass? That's a question that Dean Heller and Joe Heck (and Mark Amodei) must soon answer. This has the strong support of the supermajority of Nevadans and Americans overall. But now, the fate of immigration reform lies in the hands of a few Republican Members of Congress (including Nevada's).

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