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Poll finds little support for GOP who favor S. 744 bill to increase immigrant workers and give work permits to illegal aliens


Republican senators considering voting for the S. 744 immigration bill will find little support among the voters on whom they most depend for both Primary and General elections, according to a Pulse Opinion Research survey of 1,000 likely voters on June 17.

Perhaps Republicans' corporate donors are cheered by a bill that the Congressional Budget Office finds would lower the wages of American workers by pouring too many foreign workers into the labor market. But the poll shows that the demographic groups who tend to provide the votes to put Republicans into office won't be at all pleased if Senators vote for the bill's huge increases in immigrant workers."

The poll found that arguments for the legislation were exceptionally unpopular not only with Republicans and conservatives but with Independents and moderates, and with Catholics as well as Protestants and Evangelicals. This was also true of those with working-class identities -- such as those in union households and with less education -- swing voters with whom Republicans did so poorly in last year's elections.

The poll found the least support for arguments in favor of the bill's increases in foreign workers and overall immigration. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill would award around 28 million green cards in the first decade, compared with about 11 million over the previous decade.

  • Given two options, only 14% of all likely voters chose the S. 744 supporters' claims that "labor shortages require increases in less-educated foreign workers" for "construction, hospitality and other service occupations." But 73% chose the opponents' claim that there are "plenty of unemployed less-educated Americans to fill the jobs."

Every demographic group showed low support for the bill's increase in less-educated foreign workers, including Republicans (7%), moderates (8%), high school grads (4%), Hispanics (19%) and the young age 18-39 (14%).

  • Only 22% of all likely voters agreed with supporters of the bill who say "bringing in more immigrant workers would create economic growth which would provide more jobs for unemployed Americans." But 66% agreed with opponents of the bill who say "adding more immigrant workers would increase job competition for unemployed Americans, making it harder for them to find jobs."

The bill's idea that more immigration will put more Americans to work was supported by only 24% of union households, 23% of Catholics, 14% of Evangelicals, 8% of high school grads, 14% of both conservatives and moderates, 18% of Independents and 13% of Republicans.

  • The most consistent finding across demographic groups in the poll was in response to a question of whether, before seeking new foreign workers, businesses should try harder to recruit from among Black and Hispanic Americans who suffer the nation's highest unemployment rates. Among all likely voters, 82% agreed. The only demographic group with a significant difference was Hispanic voters, 67% of whom said businesses should do more to hire from among the seriously unemployed Americans.
  • On the most contentious issue thus far in Senate floor debate, only 32% of all likely voters chose the bill's priority of giving "work permits for illegal immigrants first, followed by 10 years of implementing enforcement" at the "workplace and border." But 58% said they prefer "full enforcement first, before considering work permits" for illegal immigrants.

The bill's work-permits-first approach is supported by only 31% of union households, 32% of Catholics, 18% of high school grads, 9% of conservatives, 8% of moderates, 7% of Republicans and 14% of Independents.

  • Offered four choices for dealing with the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, only 21% of all likely voters chose "give most full legal status and work permits." 26% chose "deport most", while 13% chose "try to persuade most to leave voluntarily by denying them jobs," and 28% chose "let most stay as visitors with their families but no jobs or public assistance."

Agreeing with the S. 744 solution of legal status and work permits for illegal immigrants were only 14% of Republicans, 18% of Independents, 11% of conservatives, 13% of moderates, 15% of Blacks, 44% of Hispanics, 11% of Evangelicals, 24% of Catholics, 9% of high school grads and 25% of union households.

On none of these issues did the majority of Democratic voters support the arguments for S. 744, although they were more supportive than most demographic groups. Democratic senators gain little with Democratic voters by supporting S. 744 and they risk a lot with Independent voters, but the poll results show that Republican senators are at the most political risk by voting for S. 744.

Click here to view the poll's full questions and answers. 

ROY BECK is the CEO & Founder of NumbersUSA

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