Putting one more nail in the coffin of the game labeling conservatives “tea party” and “establishment,” a cross-section of GOP groups came out in favor of passing immigration reform this year. In a memo entitled “Partnership for a New American Economy, Americans for Tax Reform, and Tea Party Express Release New Poll Showing Tea Party Voters Want Immigration Reform This Year,” the three groups kicked off a monthly push in which diverse conservative groups will press the case for immigration reform. The e-mail reads in part:
“Our economy, our security, and our citizens deserve a system that works,” said Sal Russo, Co-founder of the Tea Party Express. “Tea Party voters want solutions to the real problems facing America and immigration is no exception. We encourage Congress to take action this year and provide conservative, free-market, common sense solutions to the problems in our immigration system.”
“The majority of Americans know that fixing immigration reform is essential to America’s future,” said Al Cardenas, Chairman of the American Conservatives Union. “Congress has a great opportunity to bring conservative ideals to the immigration debate and remake our immigration system into one that respects our laws and our borders, accommodates those that want to come to America to contribute, and recognizes the needs of the U.S. economy.”
I have no doubt that this was in the works for a while, but the timing is particularly good. In two weeks of primary voting immigration reform candidates do well. Even Ben Sasse, who was backed by groups including the Senate Conservatives Fund, refused to sign an immigration reform pledge.
This latest coalition gives further encouragement to House Republicans that they can move ahead on a critical issue with the support of some old and new uber-conservative groups.
The poll released along with the memo is striking. The memo lists the poll’s key results:
- Voters want Congress to act on immigration reform this year: 71 percent said it is important that Congress act on immigration reform this year.
- Voters support a plan in line with Speaker Boehner’s standards: 76 percent support a plan that includes both improved border security and enforcement as well as a way for undocumented immigrants who are already in this country to stay if they pay penalties, pay back taxes, pass a criminal background check, and learn English and American civics.
- Voters support a way for undocumented immigrants to attain legal status or U.S. citizenship: 70 percent support a plan that provides legal status or U.S. citizenship for undocumented immigrants who pay penalties, pay back taxes, pass a criminal background check, and learn English and American civics.
- Voters would elect a candidate who supports broad reform: 69 percent would vote for a candidate who supports broad reform over one who supports border security and enforcement only.
And these are 400 GOP self-identified tea party voters. We’ve argued before that many polls peddled by anti-immigration groups or MSM pollsters (convinced Republicans are anti-immigration reform) are useless because either they use terms like “amnesty” or give no specifics about the sort of plans at issue. Once again we see how misleading these surveys can be.
Plainly the speaker of the House wants to move forward with a bill that is pro-growth, enhances border security, reforms legal immigration and deals with some segment of those here illegally. With primary results, new support (joining pro-immigration reform evangelicals, high-tech employers and many conservative lawmakers) one sees how it might be possible to move a bill or bills of some type in the next few months. If the Senate really is going to flip to a GOP majority, then Senate Democrats will be in a mood to bargain now, before they lose the majority.