The Guest Worker Program: A Crucial Element of Immigration Reform

With the flurry of media attention surrounding the Gang of Eight releasing the details of its bipartisan immigration reform bill a couple weeks ago, immigration reform has once again moved to the front-burner of American political discourse.  Catchphrases such as “securing our borders” and “providing a pathway to citizenship” have been used so much in headlines and news broadcasts that they have become a common part of our vernacular.  However, there has been surprisingly little discussion of one particular issue – which may very well be the glue needed to hold together a meaningful immigration reform package – an effective guest worker program.

This post highlights data from two surveys:  1) Public Opinion Strategies/Ciruli Associates – Vernon K. Krieble Foundation March 2013 National Survey; and, 2) ABC News/Washington Post April 2013 National Survey.

First, our poll clearly shows that American voters see border control and a guest worker program as being intrinsically linked in a positive way.  In fact, seventy-one percent (71{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) of voters said they agreed with the following statement: “The best way to get control of our border is to have a system for handling guest workers.  Without a guest worker program, we are just inviting more illegal border crossings.”  In essence, voters are saying that they believe America cannot effectively secure its border if border control is not accompanied by a functioning guest worker program.  Republicans (67{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}), Independents (63{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}), and Democrats (78{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) are all in agreement with this strong statement tying the two issues together.

Therefore, it is not surprising that roughly seven out of ten voters (69{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) nationally said they favor “a guest worker program that would give work permits to people who are already in the U.S. illegally who pass a security background check and have a job.”  Further, more than a third of the voters we interviewed (35{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) said they would “strongly” favor this type of a guest worker program.  Self-identified Democratic voters were the strongest supporters (82{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} favor), but more than two-thirds (70{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) of Independent voters and a solid majority (54{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) of Republican voters also counted themselves as supporters.

When asked a little bit differently on the recent ABC News/Washington Post Survey, 60{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of the respondents said they would support “more visas for highly skilled workers from other countries,” and fifty-six percent (56{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) said they would support “a guest worker program for low-skilled workers from other countries.”  It is important to note that the poll conducted by ABC News/Washington Post made no mention of security background checks or the immigrants already having a job, and the numbers were still quite strong.

Looking in greater detail at a specific guest worker program, the Public Opinion Strategies/Ciruli Associates poll tested a six-part guest worker program.  The two most popular aspects of six-part guest worker program are the two which could be most easily associated with helping secure our borders.   First, guest workers would need to “pass a security background check and have a job” (90{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} favor) and, second, “workers would receive a work permit smart card that includes a photograph of the worker, employment information, and biometric data such as fingerprints” (85{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} favor).

The table below shows all six components of the guest worker program as tested:

chart 1

Overall, when packaged as one six-part proposal, roughly eight in ten voters (79{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) support the establishment of this guest worker program.  Support is significantly high across party with (74{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) of Republicans, (88{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) of Democrats, and sixty-eight percent (68{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) of Independents in the support column.

The guest worker program, despite not being discussed nearly as much as some of the other more popular catchphrases, is indeed an item that Americans see as a crucial element in any meaningful and lasting immigration reform plan.

Similar Articles

  • Impeachment Fever Has Hit House Democrats
    read more

  • Public Opinion Strategies Congratulates Karen Handel on Winning GA-06
    read more

  • The Democrats’ Pivot
    read more

    read more

    read more

Public Opinion Strategies helped us to clarify what we wanted to learn and then conducted research and analysis that shed light even beyond the questions we set out to ask. They were very receptive to our suggestions, responsive to our queries, and flexible when we needed them to be.

Public Opinion Strategies has consistently offered unparalleled advice and spot-on polling that has shaped how and where we spent money and deploy key resources. Additionally, they have always been an excellent steward of limited campaign resources, ensuring we spend wisely and not a dollar more than necessary in order to get the information we need.

Robert Blizzard and Public Opinion Strategies did a great job for us throughout our successful campaign for Congress. Robert gave us accurate data, spot on analysis, and professional advice, all of which were essential to our victory.

Public Opinion Strategies is one of our go-to pollsters when it comes to testing public support for bond ballot measures and other initiative proposals. They are available to provide ongoing consultation with regard to crafting of ballot questions, public outreach messaging, and related efforts.

ACLI has worked with Public Opinion Strategies for decades, through several tough industry battles—often ones in which public opinion does not naturally fall on the side of insurers. Yet Bill and his team consistently provide invaluable strategic advice by refining our messages and helping us frame our issues in a way that makes them understandable and persuasive.

The data from Public Opinion Strategies provided important insight and informed our public awareness campaign. We sincerely appreciate their professionalism and expertise in this arena.

Nicole McCleskey and the team at Public Opinion Strategies have been invaluable to me, both during my campaigns and as Governor of the State of New Mexico. It’s not just the accuracy of their numbers, but guiding the overall strategy that makes them so valuable.

Public Opinion Strategies has been a part of our team in Missouri for more than a decade. With their data and guidance, Republicans here were able to attain a majority in the House in 2002 for the first time in fifty years, and we have been able to grow that majority to the point that we now have a record, veto-proof majority.

In my tenure at two leading business associations, facing huge and complex consumer issues, I have benefitted enormously from the objective advisory skills of Bill and his team. They do their homework, they are rigorous, dispassionate and thoughtful. Turning questions into answers is a clever tag, but it’s also an apt description of the professional talents of the firm.

I consider Public Opinion Strategies to be a part of our team. That is the way we have always worked. They have helped us to understand our needs and fashioned research solutions to meet those needs. They have helped us to meet killer deadlines by being flexible, executing rapidly, and insuring quality. Teamwork is the best way to describe it.

Accuracy, speed, and deep knowledge of key issues and public sentiment are the hallmarks of quality opinion research, and on these measures Public Opinion Strategies consistently delivers. I have had the pleasure of working with Public Opinion Strategies for more than 15 years on dozens of issues, and they are undoubtedly the gold standard.

Public Opinion Strategies’ track record of success and wealth of experience in political campaigns and issue advocacy are why they are one of the most trusted and well respected public opinion firms in Washington, D.C. Their insights and perspectives have helped to inform a wide array of public affairs activities across multiple industries.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :