Sixty-eight percent of voters believe that, when done legally, immigration is good for America. Most voters for years have favored a welcoming policy of immigration. Unlike many issues these days, there is virtually no partisan disagreement.
These facts raise a question that should make everyone in official Washington uncomfortable. If immigration is good for America and there is support across party lines, why can’t the politicians figure out a way to come up with something that works?
Part of the problem is that voters don’t trust the federal government. Regardless of what laws are passed, few believe the government will even try to secure the border, and that’s an essential part of the conversation. Even among supporters of “comprehensive” reform, 64 percent want the border to be secured first before any pathway to citizenship for those here illegally can begin.
None of these dynamics has changed since the immigration reform effort attempted when George W. Bush was in the White House. Some believe the 2012 election results will make it different this time around. After all, the reasoning goes, Republicans can’t afford to further antagonize Hispanic voters.