Poll finds broad support in battleground states for legalizing unauthorized immigrants

A majority of likely voters in five states with close Senate races in next week’s midterm elections support offering legal status to unauthorized immigrants in the United States under certain circumstances, poll shows released on Monday.

Seventy-three percent of voters polled in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin said they support giving immigrants living in the United States without legal permission the chance to ‘earn’ status. legal status and ultimately citizenship if they meet certain conditions, including passing background checks. .

Twenty-three percent of likely voters in the five battleground states said unauthorized immigrants should be deported, according to the survey, which was conducted by Democratic polling firm Hart Research Associates and commissioned by the National Immigration Law Center, which represents the interests of immigrants. .

The poll found that 74% of respondents would support applicants who favor placing “dreamers,” or unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children, on the path to citizenship. Eighteen percent of voters polled said they would support candidates who support the expulsion of the Dreamers.

The Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows approximately 600,000 Dreamers to legally work and live in the United States without fear of deportation, is currently in legal jeopardy after that two federal courts have declared the policy illegal.

According to the survey, support for legalizing immigrants living illegally in the country was strongest among Democrats, Independents and Latinos. Only 15% of Latino respondents did not express support for allowing unauthorized immigrants to obtain legal status.

Proposals to legalize large groups of immigrants in the United States have failed in Congress for the past two decades amid intense disagreement over issues such as border enforcement. In recent years, many Republicans have vowed not to legalize unauthorized immigrants without tougher border controls.

While control of the House rests in dozens of districts across the country, races in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin could dictate which party holds the Senate, which is currently split evenly between Democrats and Republicans. Vice President Kamala Harris’ decisive vote gives Democratic lawmakers shaky control of the chamber.

Democratic incumbents Mark Kelly of Arizona, Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada face formidable challenges from Republicans Blake Masters, Herschel Walker and Adam Laxalt, all of whom embraced former President Donald Trump and his intransigent positions on immigration.

In Pennsylvania, Democrat Jon Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz are battling for a vacant Senate seat, and in Wisconsin, Mandela Barnes is seeking to unseat Republican Senator Ron Johnson.

While Monday’s polls suggest a majority of likely voters in those five states support the views on immigration espoused by Democratic Senate candidates, immigration is not voters’ top concern heading into Election Day. ballot, according to the survey and other polls. Fifty-five percent of voters in battleground states said the main issue dictating how they would vote next week would be inflation and the cost of living.

Moreover, national polls show that the record number of migrant arrests along the southern border over the past year and a half have become a political liability for President Biden and his fellow Democrats, whom Republicans have accused of support lax immigration enforcement. A poll last month found that more than half of Americans want the Biden administration to do more to prevent illegal border crossings.

Fifty-one of the voters questioned within the framework of a CBS News poll published Sunday blamed Mr. Biden and Democrats for the situation along the US-Mexico border, where authorities arrested migrants nearly 2.4 million times in fiscal year 2022, an all-time high. Forty-five percent of respondents, meanwhile, said Democrats put the interests of recently arrived immigrants ahead of those of American citizens.

The survey commissioned by the National Immigration Law Center found that 71% of likely voters in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin support allowing migrants fleeing violence to seek asylum along the southern border.

While acknowledging that the economy remains the main issue, Bri Gillis, vice president of policy advocacy at the National Immigration Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Fund, said Monday’s poll shows that proposals to legalize immigrants and reform the asylum system have “broad appeal” in battleground states. .

“Immigration is an economic issue. We know it affects the supply chain. We know it affects the workforce. We know that immigration affects our education policy. So all these issues are intertwined,” Gillis said, adding that Democrats will have a “clear advantage” with voters who prioritize immigration issues.

But Daniel Garza, president of the LIBRE initiative, a Latino outreach group with conservative views, predicted that US border policy would be an “anchor” weighing on Democrats in the election and could help Republicans regain control of Congress. .

Garza said the Biden administration’s handling of high levels of illegal border crossings has alienated Republicans who were previously open to legalizing unauthorized immigrants to the United States “Because of the border situation, the issue has really infuriated many Americans, including Latinos”. he said.

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