West Slope voters want immigration reform, poll shows
More than three-quarters of voters in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District favor a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people in the United States illegally, according to a recent poll.
Amnesty advocates touted the poll Tuesday in hopes of pushing U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., to support an immigration measure similar to one that passed the Senate earlier this year.
Tipton said this summer he’s working with House leadership to craft a measure that could go to conference committee with senators on changes to the nation’s immigration system.
Tipton’s office said in a statement he had shared with House leadership information gathered this summer “and is hopeful that Congress will be able to advance a reform solution that is fair, practical and compassionate.”
The poll of 720 likely voters, contacted on Thursday and Friday, showed 77 percent of voters, including 74 percent of Republicans, favored legislation similar to H.R. 15, which reflects the original legislation introduced in the Senate.
The House measure excludes provisions aimed at increased border security, which were added to gain Republican backing in the Senate.
America’s Voice, a pro-amnesty organization that sponsored the poll, said that supporting the Senate measure would give Republicans tarnished by the federal shutdown the opportunity to redeem themselves.
“How often do you have an issue that has broad bipartisan support in Congress, 70-plus percent support from constituents, strengthens the economy, is good politics for both parties and moves the country forward?” America’s Voice managing director Patty Kupfer said in a statement on the poll.
Tipton has been under pressure by the agricultural industry to support the Senate measure. John Harold of Tuxedo Farms in Olathe this summer urged Tipton to sign onto the Senate bill, saying that his business, which ships Olathe sweet corn around the nation, needs the ability to employ seasonal workers that the Senate measure would afford.
The existence of agricultural operations such as his “is directly tied to the quality of our labor force,” Palisade fruit grower Harry Talbott said. “If we don’t have a viable labor force, we have to go offshore or outside of our borders to somewhere where that labor force exists.”
The poll results were unsurprising, Talbott said, because they reflect American values of “a fair shake, a fair chance.”
Tipton “firmly believes that Congress must address immigration reform in this country — verifiable border security and a strengthened guest-worker program are two vital steps, among others, to permanently fix the problems facing our immigration system and ensuring that we don’t end up here again in 20 years with the same challenges,” his office said in a statement.
The House is working on a reform plan that “through a step-by-step approach (with numerous pieces of legislation that could be considered in unison), would fix our country’s immigration system,” Tipton’s office said.
The poll asked respondents to consider immigration reform.
“As you may know, the House of Representatives is beginning to consider different immigration reform proposals. One option is legislation that would significantly increase border security, block employers from hiring undocumented immigrants, and make sure that undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. with no criminal record register for legal status. If immigrants were to meet a list of requirements, they could eventually apply for citizenship. Knowing this information, would you support or oppose this legislation?”