Republicans Want Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The Republican House? Less So.

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 19 2014 12:10 PM

Republicans Want Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The Republican House? Less So.

A new national Politico poll poses an immigration question in a fairly soft way, and gets an overwhelmingly positive response.

Do you support or oppose comprehensive immigration reform? 
NET: Support ......................................71% 
Strongly support .....................................28%
Somewhat support ................................. 42% 
NET: Oppose ...................................... 28% 
Somewhat oppose ..................................16% 
Strongly oppose ..................................... 12% 
Decline to answer ................................... 2%
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According to Katie Glueck's breakdown, the numbers were surprisingly high among Republican voters: "64 percent of Republican respondents back comprehensive immigration reform, as do 78 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of independents." The 64 percent number is almost eerie—earlier this year, exactly 64 percent of Republicans told Pew's pollsters that illegal immigrants "should be allowed to stay legally" in the United States. (Only 38 percent said they should be able to apply for citizenship.)

So, how is the Republican Party responding to this game-changing, paradigm-shifting, disruption-disrupting news?

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor won’t allow attempts next week to include a measure on a must-pass defense policy bill that would legalize young undocumented immigrants who serve in the military.
A spokesman confirmed Friday that the legislation, known as the Enlist Act, will not be among those debated with the National Defense Authorization Act, an annual bill that sets policy for the Pentagon. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), the Enlist Act’s chief sponsor, had pledged to bring it up as part of the floor battle over the defense bill.

Strange. Almost as if they're more responsive to the activist base and to primary challenges than to generic national polling!

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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