Politics
President Barack Obama speaks from the Justice Department in Washington Jan. 17, 2014. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque) President Barack Obama speaks from the Justice Department in Washington Jan. 17, 2014. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)  

Poll: Wealthy, liberals unite to support increased immigration

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

A new poll shows that the wealthy and politically well-connected favor the sharp immigration increases that are included in pending House and Senate bills.

The immigration increases are opposed by the majority of lower-income and middle-income voters, and by political moderates and conservatives, according to the new Rasmussen poll of 1,000 likely voters. A plurality of African-Americans oppose the increases.

“The idea of importing millions of additional people to compete with American workers in the middle class is politically absurd,” said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies. Voters “aren’t stupid and they understand what the [immigration] proposals are designed to do,” he told The Daily Caller.

The stark class divide on immigration was highlighted by Rasmussen as House leaders, including Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Paul Ryan, prepare to push GOP legislators to back a package of far-reaching immigration bills.

They’ll use the Jan. 29-31 retreat in Cambridge, Md., to tout bills that would dramatically boost foreign competition for the blue-collar jobs sought by American voters, teenagers, graduates and unemployed.

In June, the Senate passed a bill that would triple the inflow of legal immigrants over the next decade.

The opposition to the bill is being led by reform groups, such as tea party groups, NumbersUSA and the Madison Project.

“We will not grow the party and win back Reagan Democrats by pushing the agenda of the corporate interests,” said Daniel Horowitz, policy director at the Madison Project. “Republican business interests are asking for a de facto maximum wage mandate with an unnatural and constant flow of cheap foreign labor.”

Other right-of-center advocates are pushing alternatives, including new productivity-boosting automation, that could bypass the Democrats’ use of racial politics to bind Hispanic voters into their coalition.

The Rasmussen poll shows that the greatest support for American workers comes from small-government tea party activists, who oppose the increased immigration by 79 percent to 19 percent.

Fifty percent of swing-voting moderates oppose the tripling, while only 36 percent favor the increase, said Rasmussen.

That’s important because the swing voters will decide in November whether the GOP get a majority in the House and Senate.

“The party that wins independents wins Congress. Energizing core supporters is necessary but insufficient,” GOP-affiliated strategist Karl Rove said in Jan. 16 Wall Street Journal op-ed about a new Quinnipiac University poll. That Quinnipiac poll showed a 50 percent rise in opposition to the pending immigration bills since last spring.

The new Rasmussen poll shows the greatest support for foreign workers comes from Democrats.

Sixty-two percent of Democrats told Rasmussen they support tripling the annual inflow of immigrants each year, while only 25 percent announced their opposition. Strong supporters of President Barack Obama support the extra inflow by 60 percent to 27 percent.

The second major source of support comes from professionals and executives who earn more than $200,000 a year.

They stand to profit the most from any increased supply of people competing for low-wage service jobs, such as maids, nannies, cooks, bartenders, butchers, landscapers, delivery drivers, golf caddies, retail clerks, fruit-pickers and laborers.

Sixty-two percent of those high-income Americans support the proposed tripling of immigration, while 28 percent oppose it.