Here are two news releases distributed to Tennessee media as the U.S. Senate considers a landmark immigration bill:
First, from the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition:
Nashville – According to the results of Harper Polling, an independent polling firm, over three-fourths of Tennessee voters support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers and families already here. Over three-fourths also think the bill currently in Congress is tough but fair, and want Senators Alexander and Corker to support it.
The poll offered several questions relating to immigration reform, including “How important is it that the U.S. fix its immigration system this year?” to which 91% of respondents answered “important” (71%) to “somewhat important” (20%). Tennesseans overwhelmingly showed support for an earned pathway to citizenship if undocumented immigrants meet certain requirements, with 77% of respondents showing “strong” (46%) to “somewhat” (31%) support for a legalization process that includes citizenship. The bill is being considered and debated today on the floor of the US Senate.
The following is a statement from Stephen Fotopulos, the Executive Director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition:
“The will of Tennessee voters is clear. We want Congress to do its job, make sense of our immigration laws this year, and finally bring order to the system. Undocumented immigrants are already in our state working hard and raising families, just waiting for the chance to get in line and on the books, and start the long, tough path to citizenship.”
Next, from the American Federation for Immigration Reform:
WASHINGTON – A statewide poll of likely Tennessee voters finds strong opposition to a bill before the U.S. Senate that would grant amnesty to 12 million illegal aliens and dramatically increase overall immigration to the United States.
According to the poll, 66 percent of Tennessee voters oppose S.744, the Gang of Eight immigration bill – including 49 percent who said they are “strongly opposed.” Only 23 percent of voters indicated that they support the bill and only 8 percent said they “strongly support” it.
The poll also indicated that Tennesseans disagree strongly with the Gang of Eight’s priorities. Under S.744, amnesty for illegal aliens would begin within six months of enactment, while the provisions of the bill promising enhanced immigration enforcement would not have to be implemented for a decade or more. Only 16 percent of Tennessee voters favor this approach, while 79 percent stated that border security, employment verification, or deportation of illegal aliens should be the “highest priorities” of an immigration overhaul.
The poll of 500 likely voters was conducted on June 12 and 13 by the national polling firm Pulse Opinion Research on behalf of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The poll has a margin of error of +/-4.5 percent.
In addition to widespread opposition to the legislation generally, the poll asked Tennesseans to register their opinions on specific provisions of the bill. The poll found:
75% oppose granting legal status to illegal aliens before a border security plan is fully implemented, and 27% of voters oppose granting amnesty under any circumstance.
77% oppose the discretionary authority given to DHS to legalize aliens with criminal records or gang affiliations, including 62% who “strongly oppose” those provisions.
73% oppose provisions in the bill that would significantly increase overall immigration to the U.S., including 54% who are “strongly opposed.”
74% oppose the increases in guest workers authorized under the bill, including 53% who said the increases are “much too high.”
“The Gang of Eight immigration bill currently being debated in the Senate has almost no support among the people of Tennessee, for very good reasons,” observed Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “There is virtually nothing in the bill that would benefit Tennessee workers or taxpayers.
“It is clear that Tennesseans overwhelmingly reject the Senate’s plan to grant unconditional amnesty to millions of illegal aliens and flood U.S. labor markets with millions of new foreign workers, while offering the American people worthless promises on border security and immigration enforcement,” Stein continued.
“Tennessee lawmakers need to understand that their constituents are watching this debate and that they expect their representatives to defend their interests against efforts to undermine their economic security and the security of the nation. It could not be clearer: Tennessee voters strongly oppose almost every provision of S.744,” Stein concluded.
The results of the poll of Tennessee voters, including the questions asked, can be found at www.fairus.org.