Poll Shows 80% of Long Islanders Support Immigration Reform and Path to Citizenship


A new survey of registered voters on Long Island finds that an overwhelming 80% support the basics of the immigration reform bill currently up for debate in the United States Senate.

Latino voters are even more firmly behind the bill, with a strong 85% in favor.  Only 8% of all voters “strongly disapprove” of the bill. The results clearly show that Long Islanders overwhelmingly reject the divisive politics once peddled by politicians like Steve Levy and embrace a practical approach to an earned path to citizenship.

Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed said they were persuaded by this argument for immigration reform:

When people are living here legally they can be better held accountable for what they do. There are rights associated with legal status. There are ALSO responsibilities that we expect people living in America to fulfill.

Long Islanders were also very practical-minded in their approach, with 65% finding this statement persuasive:

We need immigration laws that are tough, fair, and practical – recognizing that we can’t possibly find and deport millions of people. This immigration reform provides a common sense path to citizenship for those who stay here, obey our laws, learn English, and pay taxes like everybody else.

The results clear the way for Long Island’s Congressional delegation to vote for immigration reform. By a margin of more than 4 to 1, Long Islanders say that they are more likely to vote for a Congressperson who supports reform versus those who say they are less likely to vote for the same Congressperson.

The survey found that Long Island voters reject the prejudices used by the anti-immigrant movement to rally opposition to reform. For example, when voters were asked whether immigrants generally come to Long Island to work hard and provide for their families or to take advantage of the system and get benefits like welfare, by a margin of two to one they said immigrants came to work hard.

Long Islanders also see the injustice in not giving partners in same-sex marriages equal rights to other married couples. Seventy-one percent wanted LGBT couples to be able to be united under our immigration spousal unity system. Only 22% favored discriminating against gay and lesbian families. Latino Long Islanders were even more pro-marriage equality, with 73% supporting same-sex couples being given equal rights.

Conservative opposition to immigrants is taking its toll on support for Republicans among Latino voters. Only 17% of Latinos said they lean Republican. More than five times as many Latinos identify themselves as “strongly Democratic” than “strongly Republican.” Seven years of harsh conservative rhetoric against Latinos and immigrants generally have taken their toll and virtually eliminated what was once significant Latino backing for moderate Republicanism. This trend could spell electoral disaster for the GOP if reform fails through Republican intransigence.

The survey was conducted on behalf of Long Island Wins and our allies by Harstad Strategic Research, Inc, the national public opinion research firm in Boulder, Colorado. The survey results are based upon 755 random telephone interviews among active voters in Nassau and Suffolk Counties from May 28 – June 2 . The general margin of error is 3.6%.

Immigration Poll Results

Graph courtesy of Newsday.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.