Nevada poll shows voter support for immigration reform, including pathway to citizenship

By: - December 17, 2021 5:30 am

(Photo by Fabian Fauthvia Unsplash)

As President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act languishes in the U.S. Senate, a new poll suggests more than two-thirds of likely voters in Nevada support the immigration policy contained within it.

And a similar share of likely voters support additional immigration reforms that go beyond what is currently proposed. Specifically, those voters say they support earned pathways to citizenship for dreamers, essential workers and migrants who fled war or natural disaster.

The findings are part of a poll of 440 likely voters in Nevada by Data For Progress, in conjunction with Make The Road. The poll was conducted in early December but results were released Friday, one day after Democrats conceded that Build Back Better would likely not pass by year’s end.

Among its many social spending proposals, Build Back Better would provide work permits and deportation protection for some undocumented immigrants, including those known as “dreamers” who were brought to the U.S. as children. These limited protections are referred to as “parole.”

Not currently proposed within Build Back Better is any definitive path to citizenship for these undocumented immigrants, some of whom have been in limbo for decades. The Senate parliamentarian, an unelected advisor whose existence until recently flew far under the radar of the public, believes senators cannot pass legislation creating pathways to citizenship within the reconciliation process and a simple majority vote. That ruling has garnered continued criticism from many Democrats, including Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and others issued a statement Thursday saying they “strongly disagree” with the position and “will pursue every means to achieve a path to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act.”

The Data For Progress poll of Nevadans found that 91% of Democratic voters, 73% of third party voters and 36% of Republican voters support an earned pathway to citizenship for dreamers, TPS recipients and essential workers.

A higher percentage of Republican voters, 43%, support “parole” legislation offering work permits and deportation protections for those groups.

The poll also explored immigration as a 2022 campaign issue. It found that a little over half of all likely voters would be “more likely” or “somewhat more likely” to support a candidate who supported Build Back Better and an earned pathway to citizenship. Just over half of all independent voters said they would be “more likely” or “somewhat more likely” to support such a candidate.

Just under a third of likely voters in Nevada indicated they would be “less likely” or “much less likely” to vote for a candidate who supported Build Back Better and pathways to citizenship.

“Nevada voters want a path to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act,” said Rico Ocampo, immigration organizer of Make the Road Action Nevada, in a statement. “The data shows that a bipartisan majority of Nevadans support permanent solutions for the hundreds of TPS, and DACA holders, and other essential workers who have courageously stepped up and kept us going during the pandemic.”

Make the Road and other groups are calling for action from Senate Democrats and warning that a failure to deliver will have consequences at the ballot box.

“Right now, Democrats have all the power to deliver for immigrant communities and the millions of Americans who know and love someone who is undocumented,” said Bruna Sollod, senior communications and political director of United We Dream Action, in a statement. “As this recent Data For Progress poll shows, likely voters in Nevada are enthusiastic about candidates who support broad permanent solutions for immigrant youth, TPS holders, farm workers and other essential workers. These are the same voters that Democrats will need in order to keep control of the House and the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections.”

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April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus

April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. She has been a beat writer at Las Vegas Sun, a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting North American bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, two children and two mutts.