Thursday, June 1, 2006

Republican Immigration Reform Strategy Memo

Here is an interesting memo on immigration and polling from the Republican National Committee:

Republican National Committee

TO: Republican National Committee Members
FROM: Matthew Dowd, RNC Senior Advisor
RE: Public Opinion On Immigration Reform
DATE: May 26, 2006

Given the ongoing public and legislative debate on immigration reform, I wanted to provide you with an overview and analysis of public opinion research on this important issue. A review and evaluation of both public and private polls reveals the following:

  1. Americans      believe illegal immigration is a serious problem that the government has      failed to address in the past. Doing nothing on this issue is not a      solution, as Americans want it fixed today.
  2. The      public wants a comprehensive solution that includes reform on three      fronts: (i) strengthening border security/law enforcement to stem the flow      of illegal immigration, (ii) enhancing the avenues through which      immigrants can lawfully and safely enter the U.S. for work and (iii)      creating a compassionate, practical and equitable way for those illegal      immigrants already in the U.S. to legally enter the system.
  3. On      the other hand, proposals such as criminalizing illegal immigrants, have      significantly less support among the American people.
  4. The      comprehensive approach that emphasizes both security and compassion is      unifying, not polarizing – it is supported by Republicans,      Independents, and Democrats. Furthermore, majorities of Hispanics back it.      Therefore, it is imperative for the Republican Party to talk about      immigration effectively and comprehensively and demonstrate leadership on      this vital issue as we move toward the mid-term elections.

I. Public Polling Summary

Public polls show that Americans want the government to solve the immigration problem. The public strongly supports a comprehensive approach. For instance:

Expanding the Border Patrol. Eighty percent (80%) in the FOX News poll (4/4-4/5) support increasing the number of officers policing the border, and Gallup (4/6-4/7) shows 81% believe increasing the number of Border Patrol agents will be an effective way to reduce illegal immigration.

Creating a temporary worker program. More than two-thirds of voters – and equally large numbers of Republicans – support creating a temporary worker program. FOX News (5/16-5/18) found 63% of all voters support a temporary worker program and 63% of Republicans supporting it too. Similarly, CBS (5/16-5/17) found 61% of Americans and 62% of Republicans support a temporary worker program.

Providing a way for illegal immigrants already here to obtain legal status. Proposals to allow illegal immigrants who have been in the country for at least five years and meet other requirements (pay a fine, pay back taxes, learn English, and go to the back of the line) to apply for legal status garner wide support. Close to 80% support such a proposal in the CNN poll (5/16-5/17) and 77% in the CBS News poll (5/16-5/17), including 76% of Republicans. And according to the NBC News/WSJ poll (4/21-4/24), more than two-thirds (68%) support the Hagel-Martinez approach that passed the Senate.

Sending the National Guard to help Border Patrol agents secure the border. Voters strongly support the President’s plan to deploy National Guard troops to the Mexican border. 74% support the plan in the ABC News/Washington Post poll (5/12-5/14), 64% support it in the CNN poll (5/16-5/17), and 62% support it in the CBS News poll. Moreover, the CBS poll shows 68% believe National Guard troops will be effective in reducing illegal immigration.

II. RNC Polling Summary

Examining RNC internal polling sheds even more light on the immigration debate. Our most recent poll (5/21-5/23) by Voter/Consumer Research finds:

Overwhelming support exists for a temporary worker program. 80% of all voters, 83% of Republicans, and 79% of self-identified conservatives support a temporary worker program as long as immigrants pay taxes and obey the law.

When voters are given the choice of other immigration proposals, strengthening enforcement with a tamper-proof identity card (89% among all voters, 93% among GOP), various wordings of a temporary worker program (the highest at 85% among all voters, 86% among GOP), and sending National Guard troops to the border (63% among all voters, 84% among GOP) score the highest among both all voters and Republican voters.

Immigration Proposals, Ranked By Overall Support

Voters don’t consider granting legal status to those already here amnesty. Seventy percent (70%) of voters say illegal immigrants who have put down roots in the U.S. should be granted legal status after they go to the back of the line, pay a fine, pay back taxes, learn English, and have a clean criminal record; just 25% say that would be amnesty and we should instead impose criminal penalties on illegal immigrants in the U.S. Republican and conservative opinion is only slightly lower—68% of conservatives and 64% of Republicans support granting legal status over criminal penalties.

Voters want comprehensive reform, including a temporary worker program and legal status, not inaction. When voters are given the choice between a comprehensive reform plan of getting tough on border security and a temporary worker program or no reform at all (below), 71% choose comprehensive reform and 19% choose no reform. Support for comprehensive reform is even higher among GOP base voters—80% of conservatives and 72% of church-going Protestants want comprehensive reform over no reform.

Republican candidates succeed when they support taking action on immigration. Our poll tested a number of messages, and found candidates who talk about comprehensive reform are more successful than those who focus only on border security. For example, a candidate using comprehensive reform language wins 71%—including 52% of Republicans—when matched against a seal-the-border candidate.

  • Candidate      A “who only supports sealing off the border, stopping illegal immigrants      from entering the country, and imposing criminal penalties on immigrants      already here”
  • Candidate      B “who supports comprehensive immigration reform that would beef up border      security, enforce laws against companies that hire illegals and creates a      temporary worker program that would allow immigrants to work here for a      set period of time so long as they register, pay taxes, obey the law, and      return home when their permit expires.”

25% are more likely to support Candidate A
71% are more likely to support Candidate B

Finally, when discussing immigration reform, tone and language are extremely important. To continue to grow the party, we must conduct this debate with civility and respect for our nation’s heritage – as the President has said, we are both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. That is why the American people favor a balanced plan that secures the border, improves enforcement, enhances immigration avenues AND deals compassionately and equitably with those who are already here.


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Finally you are listening to disenfranchised conservatives. I had to turn off Rush, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity et. al.

I am tired of them telling me how conservatives think on this issue. We see at least 15 hispanics a day working and if we didn't have them to do the manual labor, who would. Once all the baby boomers retire who will do the landscaping and home building and maintenance? I am a conservative republican but I am a Christian first. I am also disgusted with Ann Coulter. Talk aout joining the lambasting liberals.

Since I am a conservative, I was wondering why are Republicans in favor of punishing business over this illegal situation? Have a registration, every employer checks that registration on line and can see if who they hire is a registered worker with an authentic I.D.

Get over the mean rhetoric or you will lose lots of us who see it as truly mean spitited. It is racism pure and simple.

Posted by: Bonnie MacDougall | Jun 9, 2006 11:17:51 AM

forget it you just wiped it out. I am pro legalization etc. George Ryan in Illinois got 7 years on 7 counts of misbehavior as Govenor and Sec. of State plus free representation from a top law firm. NOW THAT IS AMNESTY

Posted by: Bonnie MacDougall | Jun 9, 2006 11:19:37 AM

Okay - So, I don't know if any of you would care to read this or try to reply with helpful information. But, it's worth the try.

I was one of those millions of individuals marching in the street of Los Angeles in March and May 2006.

I marched because immigration policy if changed to appease the privileged few - it will affect my life negatively. My story is not unique, as I am, perhaps one of many hundred thousands of children whose parents journeyed into the US for a better future, only to join them later.

I say to those who know my secret that I live in LIMBO. I was brought to Los Angeles when I was 10 y.o., in 1978, to join my mother. Most of my family earned their legalization thru the Amnesty of 1986, and many of them are now bonafide US Citizens, and hardworking if I may add.

Unfortunately, at the time I was estranged from my family and was heading fast to a relationship that would take the best ten years of my youth.

Though I applied and qualified for Amnesty I failed to follow through. No excuses. No blame. I just wished I would have been smarter and realized the importance of the matter. Not that would have mattered.

In 1993 my amnesty application was canceled, and for the last 13 and some years I have been trying to fix it. My marriage ended in 1998, and the first thing he tried to do was to get me fired by telling my boss I was illegal. He threatened me with deportation if I fought him for the kids.

Regardless of the situation I have remained close enough to my kids and we have survived thus far.

Okay - so this is the reason I am here - I remarried three years ago. We applied for my visa - step one NO problem. Step two big problem - before step 2 I need to apply or file I-690 a waiver which basically if granted will allow me to stay in the US to ReAdjust my status. If denied I will have to go back to my country and be banned from the US for ten years.

The thing is that a majority of these applications are denied. I must write a compelling reason why I must be granted to stay.

below are links from USCIS - which explains the form.

Look forward to hearing from anyone!!!! PEACE.

please email directly at

Posted by: Shirley | Sep 2, 2006 2:49:26 PM

America speaks in contrast to prohibited immigrants. That if you enter America without proper documents you are an illegal immigrant. Take a look back at history when Christopher Columbus came to America and found it inhabited already by Indians. You should be deported to!

Posted by: Chris Hariss | Apr 20, 2010 5:50:53 PM

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