A new Gallup poll released Monday indicates voters identify more with Democrats than Republicans on immigration reform. There’s all sorts of nuances between those numbers, but are GOP House members going to stand by and watch their party get caricatured as obtuse and out-of-touch with Americans? We need more pragmatic Republicans other than U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to speak up and convince members of Congress they should consider a bipartisan Senate plan that includes a path to citizenship. (For more on that proposal, see my previous blog post.)
In the chart below, 48 percent of American adults surveyed between June 13 and July 5 responded their views on immigration and immigration reform aligned more closely with the Democratic Party, while 36 percent went with Republicans. Support for the Ds was even stronger among Blacks and Hispanics. The support of those groups made a difference in the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012. Are stubborn “anti-anything-that-resembles-amnesty factions” of the GOP going to ignore them forever? If so, get ready for the “out of touch” chorus to get even louder and to lose more major elections.
Why are Republicans so stubbornly opposed to moving quickly on immigration reform? Here’s one explanation from a July 5 post: too many of them have nothing to lose and plenty of self-interests to protect.
Before Democrats start cheering, they should look at the Gallup survey’s “bottom line” analysis:
The Democratic Party has an edge over the Republican Party in Americans’ perceptions of which major party more closely shares their own views on immigration and immigration reform. Much of this, however, reflects straight partisanship, as equally high proportions of Republicans and Democrats prefer their own party. Perhaps more importantly, independents are evenly divided, suggesting that neither party has staked out a meaningful political advantage on the issue. Whites are also divided, while blacks and Hispanics line up with the Democratic Party, which is similar to the patterns seen in overall party ID.
Our editorial board has written repeatedly about the need for Congress to take action on an immigration reform plan that has strong bipartisan support in the Senate. There’s no time to lose. Millions are waiting for the opportunity to come out of the shadows and contribute openly to the American economy. Even if the bill with the citizenship measure passes, applicants are looking at a 13-year process before they might become Americans. That’s not amnesty.
Inaction is the killer of dreams and potential, as evidenced in this Monday news story by Seattle Times reporter Lornet Turnbull about a recent University of Washington graduate named Simon Mendoza. Brought to the U.S. as a baby, Mendoza worked his way through college and aspires to be a primary-care physician. Unfortunately, only one medical school in the nation admits undocumented students, no matter how qualified they may be. I hate to see Mendoza’s passion and talent — nurtured right here in our state — go to waste.