A recent poll from Latino Decisions shows that for 58% of Latino voters, immigration reform is now the most important issue for Congress and the President to address. The economy (38%), health care (19%), and education (15%) are currently ranked behind immigration reform as issues that Latino voters are prioritizing in terms of action by the Congress and the President.
Latino voters are hoping that immigration reform gets passed this year with 74% saying that it was extremely or very important for Congress to pass immigration reform. Latino voters also expect immigration reform and the economy to be handled concurrently with 78% of Latino voters saying that Congress should focus on both issues at the same time.
This same poll from Latino Decisions indicated that 44% of Latino voters were more likely to vote Republican if the GOP took on a larger role in passing immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.
Yesterday the RNC released a report outlining its new outreach strategy, Growth and Opportunity Project. The report states, “We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only…” At the same time, there appears to be a schism in the Republican Party in terms of whether a pathway to citizenship will be supported in a final comprehensive immigration reform bill. In the House, Congressman Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) has indicated that an immigration reform bill with a pathway to citizenship will not pass, while in the Senate, the Republicans in the Gang of Eight have indicated that they support immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.
Immigration policy continues to be an issue where both the Republicans and the Democrats have an opportunity to earn the support of Latino voters. With news that an immigration bill will emerge from the House in April, Latino voters will be paying close attention to the debate.
Edited 4:26 PM Eastern: A previous version indicated that Senator Rand Paul was supportive of a path to citizenship. That appears to be incorrect — Paul has indicated that undocumented immigrants should be able to obtain legal status.