At least two-thirds of Americans favor each of five specific measures designed to address immigration issues — ranging from 68% who would vote for increased government spending on security measures and enforcement at U.S. borders, to 85% who would vote for a requirement that employers verify the immigration status of all new hires, reports the Gallup Organization today.
“More than seven in 10 would vote for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants now living in this country. Slightly more than seven in 10 favor a law that would track the departures of foreigners who have come into the country and one that would increase the number of visas for immigrants with science and technology skills.
“The debate over passage of new immigration reform legislation is heating up ahead of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address next week, in which he is expected to push for a number of changes in the ways the U.S. deals with immigration. Obama is meeting with leaders in the White House on Tuesday to discuss legislation. Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is presenting his ideas on immigration on Tuesday in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, and both Senate and House leaders are working on immigration reform measures. Democrats and Republicans appear to be in general agreement on doing something about immigration, but — as is usually the case in Washington — the two sides differ on some of the specifics.
“The results of Gallup’s referendum-format question that was included in Gallup Daily tracking on Jan. 30-31 show that the American public strongly supports all of the five changes tested. Some Republican lawmakers have argued that border security measures should be put in place first before the “pathway to citizenship” laws are changed, but Americans give roughly equal support to both.”