Eighty-seven percent of people questioned in a poll released Wednesday said they would vote for a law with the provisions listed above. On that same question, 86 percent of Republicans said they would vote for such a law — and so did 86 percent of Democrats polled.
Gallup found that 83 percent of respondents would vote to “tighten U.S. border security and provide the Border Patrol with increased technology, infrastructure, and personnel.” And 95 percent of Republicans said they would vote for such a law, as did 81 percent of Democrats.
Other provisions favored by a majority of those polled include allowing engineers and scientists from other countries who earn graduate degrees here to stay in this country and work; require businesses to check the immigration status of any employees hired, and allow employers to hire immigrants “if it can be demonstrated that they were unsuccessful in recruiting an American to fill an open position.” Only on that last issue was there not a majority of Republicans favoring it — but 48 percent did.
This poll comes against the backdrop of the battle between Democrats and Republicans over a Senate immigration bill described as amnesty by its critics. That bill has the provisions that the Gallup pollees were asked about.
And now the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” in the Senate has come up with a compromise aimed at gaining enough Republican votes to pass both the Senate and the recalcitrant GOP-controlled House. The compromise amendment would add 20,000 more border agents, require completion of 700 more miles of fence along the border with Mexico and spend $3.2 billion in technology upgrades patterned after the high-tech equipment used by American forces in fighting terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. There’s supposed to be a guarantee that illegal immigrants could get permanent residency status only after five conditions in the proposal have been met. Those include stronger worker verification and controls of the border.
This is how CNN described what would happen upon implementation of the proposal: “A border agent every 1,000 feet, every hour of every day, supported by 700 miles of fencing along the Mexican frontier.” And the 11 million illegal immigrants would get no green cards until those steps were taken.
On top of that, the Congressional Budget Office says the Senate bill would actually cut the deficit by $197 billion over 10 years. The path to legal residency and citizenship would allow immigrants to receive federal entitlement benefits but they would have to pay taxes for the first time.
If that’s true and if an overwhelming majority of Americans favor the provisions of the Senate bill, then how is it not going to pass both the Senate and House?