A full 62 percent of Republicans are against the immigration reform plan being hatched by the Congressional GOP, further blurring the focus of just how far a bill will advance ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.
According to market and policy research company YouGov, there’s a strong divergence between the opinions of street Republicans and their elected Congressional representatives over how – and whether – to handle immigration reform, especially in a volatile election-year political climate.
A YouGov poll released Friday found that 62 percent oppose granting U.S. citizenship to illegal aliens living in the country, while 57 percent oppose any law that would grant unmitigated legal status to those who’ve come to the U.S. illegally.
One day after House Republican leadership unveiled their blueprint for immigration reform, a YouGov poll conducted before the announcement can reveal that self-identifying Republicans are at odds with their party’s leaders on this issue. The Republican blueprint, a one-page statement of “standards for immigration reform”, endorses measures that would grant legal status for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, but stops short of calling for a ‘pathway to citizenship’ like the one provided for in the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate last June.
But most Republicans remain opposed to measures like the ones outlined by both Republican House leaders and the Senate bill. Specifically, 55% of Republicans would oppose granting ‘temporary legal status’ to illegal immigrants already in the United States who pass background checks, pay fines and have jobs. 57% of Republicans are opposed to making immigrants in the same circumstances ‘permanent legal U.S. residents’ and 62% are opposed to granting them U.S. citizenship.
The stars may be aligning for a strong, albeit politically motivated, populist blowback against GOP leaders bent on throwing gasoline on a smoldering fire ahead of this year’s Congressional elections. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told Breitbart last Thursday that House Republicans are essentially killing the GOP’s opportunity to retake the majority in the Senate by advancing an amnesty-oriented reform bill in the first half of the year.
“They may or may not be right, but their argument is that we should focus exclusively on Obamacare and on jobs. In that context, why on earth would the House dive into immigration right now?” asked Cruz. “It makes no sense, unless you’re [Democratic Majority Leader] Harry Reid. Republicans are poised for an historic election this fall – a conservative tidal wave much like 2010. The biggest thing we could do to mess that up would be if the House passed an amnesty bill – or any bill perceived as an amnesty bill – that demoralized voters going into November.”
Then, over the weekend, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told television interviewers the future doesn’t look bright for a comprehensive immigration reform bill before the end of 2014. The tepid talk came just days after the party promulgated a nebulous “statement of principles” outlining an immigration reform blueprint that outraged its anti-amnesty conservative base.