Americans are “not concerned” that they may lose jobs to illegal aliens in a tight job market, according to speakers at a panel discussion conducted Thursday in Washington, D.C., by the National Council of La Raza.
Research conducted for La Raza, which describes itself as the “largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States,” indicates that Americans are “more concerned” with undocumented immigrants “being able to pay their fair share of taxes,” Rosenberg [Simon Rosenberg, president and CEO of NDN—formerly the New Democrat Network] said, than they are of losing jobs to illegals.
When asked if he still felt that American jobs would not be threatened by undocumented immigrants despite the fact the current unemployment rate is now at a 14-year high of 6.5 percent, Rosenberg told CNSNews.com that he believes undocumented immigrants have taken jobs that Americans “do not want,” but that there “might be” a shift in concern if unemployment rates continue to rise.
David Mermin, a partner at Lake Research Partners, a national public opinion and political strategy research firm hired by La Raza to study American voters, said 62 percent of American voters are now “more interested in converting illegal immigrants into legal taxpayers than deporting them because they might be taking jobs.”
In terms of steps to becoming “legal,” Mermin explained that “paying taxes, passing a criminal background check and learning English” are the most important factors to voters.
Pollster Mermin said his data revealed a large majority of American voters “broadly support” comprehensive immigration reform—and that supporters of enforcement-only policies, such as raids on employers, “may be loud, but there aren’t very many of them.”
Mermin said 67 percent of both Obama and McCain voters support a “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants, compared to just 10 percent of Obama voters and 20 percent of McCain voters who say that illegal immigrants “must leave the country.”
Rosenberg added that American’ attitudes toward race have changed and that Republicans will have to “make peace” with the Hispanic community and work towards immigration reform or they will see their electoral map shift from red to blue “for a generation.”
His “advice” to Democrats: “If you want to get re-elected, pass comprehensive immigration reform.”