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Immigration reform has support

A survey by three business advocacy organizations shows strong support for immigration reform among voters in Minnesota and across the nation.

The survey was sponsored by the Partnership for a New American Economy, the Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Not to be outdone, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, as leader of the Minnesota Business Immigration Coalition, is also urging Congress to act now to pass comprehensive federal immigration reform.

In Minnesota, the survey finds that voters believe the immigration system is broken.

By a 17 to 1 ratio, voters believe the system is in need of fixing versus those who think the system is functioning the way it should.

Ninety percent of Republicans believe Congress should take action to fix the immigration system, and 85 percent of Independents agree. Democrats, including President Obama, have long favored immigration reform.

Voters overwhelmingly reject the argument that President Obama’s unwillingness to enforce laws is grounds not to pass immigration reform.

More than two out of three voters (70 percent) reject the argument that the Administration’s unwillingness to enforce laws is a reason for Congress not to act.

Three of five Republicans reject this argument as well. That number increases to 69 percent among Independents.

Voters don’t want Washington to wait to fix the immigration system: 83 percent of voters want Congress to act this year, with more than half calling it “very important” they act this year.

The survey shows that 84 percent of Republicans say it is important that Congress act, while 52 percent say it is very important. Eighty-one percent of Independents believe it is important for Congress to act this year.

Voters support the principles outlined by House leadership. More than 60 percent of voters support the basic immigration plan laid out in Speaker Boehner’s “immigration standards.”

Some 61 percent of Republicans support an immigration reform plan that secures the borders, expands visas for high-skill workers and farm workers, provides an employer verification program, allows young people brought to the United States illegally by their parents an opportunity to earn citizenship, and provides visas to live and work here legally to undocumented immigrants without a criminal record who pay penalties and back taxes.

Only 25 percent oppose. Among Independents, 59 percent support and only 22 percent oppose.

Voters support establishing a legal status for undocumented immigrants. Sixty-nine percent of voters support a legal status for undocumented immigrants, and a majority of Republicans (63 percent) agree.

Republicans want their next presidential candidate to support immigration reform. Republicans would rather vote for a presidential candidate in 2016 that is from a party that supports reform (73 percent) than one from a party that opposes it (5 percent).

Looks like Republicans in Congress should be running towards immigration reform, not away from it, regardless of what a vocal minority in their party may say.