More Americans support than oppose allowing gay and lesbian citizens to sponsor foreign spouses for U.S. residency, but support for LGBT equality in immigration law is lower than support for many other immigration reform proposals, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.
The new survey finds that 45 percent of Americans support granting LGBT Americans the same rights to sponsor their spouses for residency, while 38 percent are opposed and 17 percent said they're not sure.
Other potential features of immigration reform received more support in an earlier HuffPost/YouGov poll, among them the Dream Act, using drones for surveillance along the U.S. border, and a new federal database for employers to confirm workers' eligibility to work in the U.S.
President Obama made including LGBT Americans and immigrants a major element of his Tuesday speech on immigration reform, but Republican members of a bipartisan team of senators who put forward their own proposal Monday have said that including provisions for LGBT immigrants would be a major sticking point in passing a bill.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday that such provisions were the "best way to derail" a comprehensive immigration reform deal, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.-S.C) said Tuesday that any bill including same-sex couples would kill Republican support for reform.
The new poll finds rank-and-file Republicans oppose such a proposal as well. While Democrats in the new survey supported the provisions for same-sex couples 62 percent to 23 percent, and independents were more likely to support than oppose the provisions, 44 percent to 39 percent, Republicans respondents rejected the measure by 60 percent to 22 percent.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Jan. 29-30 among 1,000 U.S. adults. The poll used a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.
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"Gang Of Eight"
A <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/28/immigration-reform-framework_n_2566494.html?1359387491">bipartisan group of senators</a> have come together to address the issue of immigration reform. The group consists of four members of each party -- Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Michael Bennet of Colorado, plus Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, John McCain of Arizona and Jeff Flake of Arizona. Their framework was announced Monday.
Pathway To Citizenship
A <a href="http://www.docstoc.com/docs/142894316/Bipartisan-immigration-plan">"tough but fair" </a> road to citizenship is the main tenet of the bipartisan immigrant plan. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is the most significant supporter of this idea, giving hope to those who doubt Republicans will support the plan.
The New Process
The new process of obtaining citizenship would be just that -- a process. Probationary citizens would be required to pass an additional background check, learn English, pay taxes and show that they have a history of employment to apply for permanent residence and a green card. Undocumented immigrants will receive green cards after all probationary citizens have been processed, ensuring that documented immigrants are addressed first. Separate processes would be designed for young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children and agricultural workers.
Enforcement, Then Green Cards
The first goal, before any green cards are handed out, is to "demonstrate our commitment to securing our borders and combating visa overstays," the senators say in their framework.
Enhance Border Security And Drones
Emphasizing enforcement measures, the framework calls for increased boarder control, including more border agents and aerial surveillance and drones. A new system would be added to ensure visa stays are being adhered to, along with a commission of border lawmakers to aid legislation.
Increase Employment Verification
The senators have proposed to create an "effective employment verification system" that would help prevent identity theft while allowing employers to feel secure in hiring documented immigrants.
No Benefits For Probationary Immigrants
Immigrants who are in the probationary category would not be eligible for federal benefits in the senators' framework. This addresses the concern that public benefits, particularly health-related ones, are being spent on undocumented immigrants.
An Easier Path For 'The Best And Brightest'
The framework recognizes that a different sort of process would be needed for "the best and brightest," including highly-skilled workers and those with higher education. This has been previously addressed in the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/28/stem-act-white-house-immigration_n_2207279.html">STEM Act </a> which was ultimately vetoed by the White House.