GOP Pollster says "intense minority" of GOP legislators are blocking immigration reform

Posted by Mitch Perry on Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 3:23 PM

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As it became apparent that Barack Obama was going to defeat Mitt Romney on election night in November of 2012, immediately political commentators said that the Republican Party had to make amends with Latino voters, since that emerging demographic gave only 27 percent of their support to the GOP candidate. An "autopsy" conducted a few months later by the Republican National Committee only confirmed that analysis, and spurred a call to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

The U.S. Senate, led in part by Republicans Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham, passed such a bill nearly a year ago. But House Republicans continue to dither on the subject.

Two new polls released this week that were conducted by GOP pollsters confirm that passing such legislation would only enhance the party's reputation in Hispanic voters minds — yet resistance in some pockets of the party has never been greater, and may in fact be emboldened by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's stunning primary loss earlier this week — in which immigration was supposed to have been a major factor.

"It’s simply a matter of finding that sweet spot that can unite the majority of the (GOP) caucus," said longtime Republican pollster Whit Ayres, speaking in a conference call with reporters. "It's a challenging endeavor because it's a challenging time facing the country, but I remain hopeful."

Ayres talked about two new polls released this week — one among Latino voters themselves regarding their feelings about the issue and their support for the Democrats and Republicans, and a more general survey of the nation that skewed towards Republican voters. The latter survey indicated that while a majority of Americans don't want to offer "amnesty" to the estimated 13 million undocumented citizens in this country, that same majority doesn't believe the Senate's comprehensive plan passed a year ago actually contains any amnesty in it.

So again, what gives?

"There is an intense minority — 20-25 percent of the Republican Party — who adamantly are opposed to any form of immigration reform beyond strengthening the border," Ayes said. "They are very loud and very intense, but they do not reflect the majority." He said that's why South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham was able to trounce his opponents in his Republican Party primary earlier this week, he added.

The results of the general public survey show that expected reform should be "good electoral politics for Republicans," according to Ayres.  And the poll finds that most Americans don’t believe deportation is a viable policy with respect to undocumented immigrants. In fact, there is an overwhelming consensus in support of some kind of legalization for undocumented immigrants (either “legal status” or “citizenship”).

Ayes also conducted a poll exclusively of 800 Hispanic registered voters, in both English and Spanish. In it, he found that 49 percent blame Republicans in Congress for the failure to pass immigration reform thus far, while 11 percent blame Democrats in Congress and 11 percent blame President Obama.

The survey also says about one-quarter of Hispanics will support Republicans regardless of whether they pass immigration reform, and about one-half will support Democrats regardless of what Republicans do. But passing immigration reform gives Republicans an opportunity to gain the support of the remaining quarter, Ayres says.

Meanwhile, according to the Associated Press, more than 48,000 immigrant children traveling on their own have been apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley, overwhelming the Border Patrol in Texas in recent weeks. That's led to extensive coverage on the issue, mostly on conservative media organizations like Fox News and the Drudge Report. 

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pretty much sick of articles about reform, its a simple fix, enforce the law. everyone says it cannot be done- I have yet to see anyone give up on "the war on drugs", simply because they cannot catch up...They have yet to give up on DUI's or seat belt tickets...simply because they have not stopped it. There are far too many people in this country that have immigrated LEGALLY, many with a long road to get here, that do not deserve to have someone get a pass, simply because they crossed a border that they KNEW they should not. Now, these children are coming in masses-and its OUR fault, because we have already said to them in no uncertain terms- if you make it on to this soil, you will not be sent back. Either save us billions a year by dumping the entire border patrol and immigration government agencies and open a free for all, OR start doing the job, PERIOD. Wheres the reasoning here, something that makes sense? We arrest a shoplifter who simply wants to feed his family for a crime. So if someone wants to illegally cross a border for the same reason, its a joke- This country may actually be able to start providing medicaid benefits to adults that have no children, if that money was NOT going to the children of illegal aliens. I know this first hand- I recently lost my medical benefits when my company let me go, and I do not qualify for ANY State or government funded medical care, because I am 52 and have no children-I have paid taxes for 30 years, and its been 20 since I have seen a return, rather I have paid more, over 5 grand a year...yet, someone who should NOT be here, has rights to give medical to his kids, simply because he dodged the law. UNTIL we can take care of EVERY AMERICAN with basic needs, there is NO ROOM or money for reform, regardless of any bleeding heart liberal's perspective on it.

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Posted by sick.of.it.in.NPR on 06/15/2014 at 7:22 AM
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