Boehner Sets Immigration Debate, but Polls Show Growing Public Opposition

Neil Munro, Daily Caller, January 17, 2014

GOP leaders are finalizing plans for an open debate on immigration to be held by legislators at their late January closed-door strategy session in Cambridge, Md.

The debate will include a panel of legislators, an outside expert, and an open mic, allowing members to comment on a one-page set of “principles” that likely will be released at the event, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The format will put Speaker of the House John Boehner and immigration advocate Rep. Paul Ryan in the driver’s seat. But a new poll that shows increased voter hostility to an amnesty is highlighting the difficulty that they face in trying to satisfy both their November voters and their business donors.

The new Quinnipiac University poll shows that both independent and GOP voters have swung sharply against an immigration amnesty since last May.

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The Quinnipiac poll, released Jan. 8, asked 1,487 registered voters if they would be more or less likely to support legislators who backed an amnesty, which was euphemistically called “a path to citizenship.”

Fifty-two percent of Republicans and 42 percent of independents said they would be less likely to vote for the legislator, even though Quinnipiac did not even tell the respondents the amnesty would apply to at least 11 million illegals.

This opposition has grown by 50 percent since a May 2013 poll by Quinnipiac, which showed that 36 percent of Republicans and 25 percent of independents said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports a “pathway to citizenship.”

The new poll also showed that actual support for legislators who back an amnesty dipped slightly, from 26 percent to 25 percent among independents, and from 15 percent to 13 percent among Republicans.

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The Quinnipiac poll did not ask voters for their views about business’ unpopular demand for additional workers.

Currently, the federal government invites in roughly 1 million immigrants and 650,000 non-agricultural guest workers each year to compete for jobs against American high school and college graduates.

The Senate immigration bill, passed in June, would approve the amnesty, and roughly double annual immigration and the inflow of guest workers. The resulting inflow of foreign workers would far exceed the total of 28 million teenagers in the United States, and likely shift several seats after the 2020 census to Democratic-dominated states. The inflow would also shift more of the nation’s wages away from voters and toward donors, exacerbating the economic inequality that Obama recently called “the defining issue of our time.”

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