Poll: GOP voters reject immigration bill, new workers

Two thirds, or 66 percent, of all respondents said that adding more immigrant workers would increase job competition for unemployed citizens.

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Pulse Opinion Research conducted the survey of 1,000 likely voters across the country on behalf of NumbersUSA, which favors reduced immigration flows.

It found 14 percent agreed that labor shortages require increases in less-educated foreign workers, while 73 percent said there are plenty of unemployed Americans to fill construction, hospitality and service-related jobs.

"Perhaps Republicans' corporate donors are cheered by a bill that the Congressional Budget Office finds would lower the wages of American workers by pouring too many foreign workers into the labor market," said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA.

"But the poll shows that the demographic groups who tend to provide the votes to put Republicans into office won't be at all pleased if Senators vote for the bill's huge increases in immigrant workers," he added.

A recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office showed the bill would depress wages by 0.1 percent by 2023 but grow them by 0.5 percent by 2033, compared to current law.

CBO estimates that if the bill becomes law, 28 million people will receive green cards in the next decade. NumbersUSA projects that number to be 33 million.

Supporters of the legislation argue it will boost economic growth dramatically.

CBO projected the bill would reduce budget deficits by $197 billion from 2014 to 2023 and by about $700 billion in the second decade.

“This report proves once and for all that immigration reform is not only the right thing to do to stay true to our nation’s principles, it will also boost our economy, reduce the deficit and create jobs. Immigration reform should be a priority of progressives and conservatives alike,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the bill’s chief sponsor, said on the Senate floor.

The bill’s provisions granting provisional legal status to millions of illegal immigrants relatively quickly, however,  remains a point of concern among many voters, the poll finds.

The survey showed that only 32 percent of likely voters supported the bill’s structure of granting work permits to immigrants soon after enactment followed by a phased increase in border patrol agents, border surveillance technology and an employment verification system over the next five to 10 years.

Less than a third or 31 percent of union households supported granting work permits to millions of illegal immigrants before fully implementing border-security personnel and technologies.

Only 21 percent of all likely voters agreed with the bill’s sponsors that most illegal immigrants who came to the country before Dec. 31, 2011 should receive work permits and eventually full legal status. 

Twenty-six percent said most of them should be deported; 13 percent said illegal immigrants should be persuaded to leave voluntarily by denying them jobs; and 28 percent said they should be allowed to “stay as visitors with their families but no jobs or public assistance”.

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