On Thursday the House of Representatives passed a bill that would limit the president’s power to use executive action to defer deportations for immigrants. The bill is unlikely to ever pass the Senate and would be vetoed by President Barack Obama if it did. But the mere gesture demonstrates that House leaders are completely out of touch with American voters when it comes to immigration and president’s actions.
New data from three separate and independent polls prove that the vast majority of Americans think favorably of Obama’s administrative relief program. Moreover, Americans are strongly opposed to Congress’ efforts to repeal it.
A newly released PRRI (Public Religion Research Institute) poll finds that 72 percent of Americans favor allowing undocumented immigrants who are the parents of children with legal status to stay in the U.S. for three years without being subject to deportation if they pass a background check and have lived in the country at least five years—or, in other words, exactly what the program does. Only 27 percent were opposed.
A separate CNN/ORC poll finds the exact same percentage—72—favor the administrative relief program.
Support for the measure is bipartisan: 62 percent of Republicans, 82 percent of Democrats, and 70 percent Independents favor it, according to PRRI.
Asked to judge the appropriateness of the action, a combined 59 percent of Americans say either the action was “about right” (33 percent) or “did not go far enough” (26 percent), PRRI’s data shows.
When it comes to deportation, a Hart Research poll from late November shows 67 percent of Americans support action to redirect focus on “threats to national security and public safety” over otherwise law-abiding immigrants, and that parents of children who are legal U.S. residents should be allowed to stay and work temporarily in the United States, without being deported, if they have lived in the United States for at least five years, pay taxes, and pass a criminal background check.”
Americans are also strongly opposed to any effort to undermine or repeal the program. According to CNN/ORC, 60 percent of voters say Republicans should not sue to try to stop Obama’s immigration plans, and 76 percent say Congress should spend its time trying to pass a comprehensive reform bill rather than trying to stop the president from acting.
The public also opposes shutting down the government (72 percent) and impeachment proceedings (63 percent) as a countermeasure to the administrative relief program, according to Hart.
In fact, the same poll shows that, when it comes to dealing with immigration, voters have more confidence in Obama than Congress.