Poll finds broad support in battleground states for legalization of unauthorized immigrants

Majorities of likely voters in five closely contested Senate states in next week’s midterm elections support granting legal status to unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. under certain conditions, according to a poll released Monday.

Seventy-three percent of voters surveyed in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin said they supported giving immigrants living in the U.S. without legal permission the opportunity to “earn” legal status and eventually citizenship if they meet certain conditions, including a background check .

23% 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 advocates the immigrants. .

The poll found that 74 percent of respondents would support candidates who favor putting “Dreamers,” or unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, on a path to citizenship. Eighteen percent of voters polled said they would support candidates who support deporting Dreamers.

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

Support for legalizing immigrants living in the country illegally, the survey found, was strongest among Democrats, independents and Latinos. Just 15% of Latino respondents did not express support for allowing unauthorized immigrants to secure legal status.

Proposals to legalize large groups of immigrants to the U.S. have failed in Congress over the past two decades amid heated disagreements over issues such as border enforcement. In recent years, many Republicans have vowed not to legalize unauthorized immigrants without stricter border controls.

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

Incumbent Democratic Sens. 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, who have embraced former President Donald Trump and hardline his positions on immigration.

In Pennsylvania, Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz are battling for an open Senate seat, and in Wisconsin, Mandela Barnes is seeking to unseat Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.

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

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

Fifty-one of the voters polled as part of it CBS News poll published on Sunday blamed Mr. Biden and Democrats for the situation at the US-Mexico border, where officials stopped 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 newly arrived immigrants ahead of U.S. citizens.

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

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

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

But Daniel Garza, president of LIBRE, a conservative Latino advocacy group, predicted that U.S. border policy would be an “anchor” that would weigh 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 in the U.S. “Because of the border situation, the issue has really angered a lot of Americans, including Latinos.” . he said.

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