More Than Two Dozen New State Polls and New National Poll Show Broad and Crosscutting Support for Congress to Pass Immigration Reform This Year


At least 84% of voters in each survey believe the immigration system is in need of fixing, and nearly 3 in 4 voters – and 2 in 3 Republican voters – reject the argument made by many in Congress that they should not act until the Administration enforces existing laws.  

Washington, DC – Today, three business advocacy organizations, the New American Economy, the Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers, released opinion survey findings showing strong support among voters in 26 states and nationally for immigration reform. These results were released in conjunction with a National Day of Action for Immigration Reform that included a Washington DC press conference and events in more than 60 key districts across 25 states.

Voters overwhelmingly responded that America’s immigration system needs to be fixed and that Congress needs to act on the issue this year. The proportion of voters who believe the U.S. immigration system is in need of fixing was at least 84% in every region of the country surveyed.  Further, 80% of voters surveyed responded that they want Congress to act on immigration reform this year, with half saying it is “very important” that Congress act this year. Though Members of Congress have repeatedly cited the concern that they cannot trust the current Administration to enforce existing laws as a reason not to act on immigration reform, 72% of voters resoundingly rejected this argument, including 2 out of 3 Republican voters.

“American voters aren’t buying the argument that now is the wrong time for immigration reform,” said Jeremy Robbins, Executive Director of New American Economy. “As this new poll shows, the vast majority of voters want Congressional action to fix our broken immigration system this year.”

“The proof is in the numbers – the majority of Americans believe our immigration system needs to be reformed,” said Business Roundtable President John Engler. “Across party lines and in different regions of the country, we agree it’s time for lawmakers and the Administration to work together to enact immigration reform legislation to make our economy more competitive.”

“What these results reveal is that, in this case, good policy is good politics,” said National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The American people are united in their support for immigration reform – and the business community stands strongly with them. I hope policymakers will take a good look at these results and take the steps necessary to make immigration reform a reality.”

Findings include:

  • Voters across the country recognize the immigration system is broken: By a 12 to 1 ratio, voters believe the system is in need of fixing versus those who think the system is functioning the way it should. 86% of Republicans believe Congress should take action to fix the immigration system. 79% of Independents agree.
  • Voters overwhelmingly reject the argument that President’s unwillingness to enforce laws is grounds not to pass immigration reform: Nearly 3 out of 4 voters (72%) reject the argument that the Administration’s unwillingness to enforce laws is a reason for Congress not to act. 2 out of 3 Republicans reject this argument as well. That number increases to 69% among Independents. 
  • Voters don’t want Washington to wait to fix the immigration system: 80% of voters want Congress to act this year, with nearly half calling it “very important” they act this year. In every region, at least 73% of voters believe it is either very or somewhat important that Congress act on immigration reform this year. 77% of Republicans say it is important that Congress act, while 53% say it is very important. 74% of Independents believe it is important for Congress to act this year.
  • Voters support the principles outlined by House leadership: More than 60% of voters support the basic immigration plan laid out in Speaker Boehner’s “immigration standards.” 54% of Republicans support an immigration reform plan that secures our borders, expands visas for high-skilled workers and farm workers, provides an employer verification program, allows young persons brought to the U.S. 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 pay back taxes. Only 37% oppose. Among Independents, 62% support and only 26% oppose.
  • Voters support establishing a legal status for undocumented immigrants: 2 out of 3 voters support legal status for undocumented immigrants. A majority of Republicans (54%) support legal status.
  • 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 (71%) than one from a party that opposes it (15%).

“Behind all the noise and rhetoric is an American electorate looking for leaders unafraid to tackle immigration reform,” said Brock McCleary, President, Harper Polling, Inc.

The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) automated national telephone survey was conducted between June 24th and 28th, 2014 by Harper Polling, Inc. The sample size for the national survey is 1,000 likely voters and the margin of error is +/-3.1 percent.

The state surveys were conducted by Harper Polling, Inc. between June 22nd and July 3rd, 2014 and surveyed sample sizes ranging from 500 to 855. The margins of error range from 4.0 to 4.38%. The total percentages for responses may not equal 100 percent due to rounding.

National and state survey results are available here.

Ryan Williams, New American Economy,
Amanda DeBard, Business Roundtable,
Matt Lavoie, National Association of Manufacturers,

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…