President Bush in 2004 introducing his proposal for a temporary guest worker program
Only 26 percent of American voters favor the Senate immigration plan offering a path to citizenship for millions of illegal aliens and creating a guest-worker program, according to a new Rasmussen poll.
The national telephone survey conducted the past two nights shows 48 percent are opposed while 26 percent are not sure.
The measure now in the Senate is opposed by 47 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of respondents not affiliated with either major party.
The bill would allow illegal immigrants to come forward and obtain a “Z visa” that puts them on a track for permanent residency within eight to 13 years. Fees and a fine of $5,000 are required and heads of household first must return to their home countries. The illegals would be able to obtain a probationary card right away to live and work in the U.S., but the path to citizenship cannot begin until completion of border improvements and a high-tech ID system.
The public is most passionate about enforcement, the survey indicates. About 72 percent of voters say it’s “very important” for “the government to improve its enforcement of the borders and reduce illegal immigration.”
The figure jumps to 89 percent among Republicans, while 65 percent of Democrats and 63 percent of unaffiliated voters believe enforcement is “very important.”
Rasmussen points out advocates of “comprehensive” reform argue those who want an enforcement-only policy must explain how they would deal with the more than 12 million illegal aliens already living in the country.
The new survey shows, however, only 29 percent of voters say it is “very important” for “the government to legalize the status of illegal aliens already in the United States.”
Among Democrats, 38 percent believe legalization is “very important.” Just 22 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of unaffiliated voters share that view.
Nevertheless, the poll shows 65 percent of voters would be willing to support a compromise that includes a “very long path to citizenship” if “the proposal required the aliens to pay fines and learn English” and the compromise “would truly reduce the number of illegal aliens entering the country.”
Rasmussen commented: “The willingness of voters to accept compromise and allow a path to citizenship suggests both pragmatism and a strong desire to do what it takes to reduce the ongoing flow of illegal immigration.”
The challenge for proponents of the legislation, the pollster said, “is to convince voters that they are serious about enforcement and that the proposal will truly work.”
Rasmussen also noted the survey results are consistent with other recent polling data showing most Americans favor an enforcement-only reform bill.