Now more than ever, New York supporters of comprehensive immigration reform say they need U.S. Rep. Peter King of Long Island to turn up the volume with the Republican leadership.
Pat Young, program director with the refugee advocacy group CARECEN, says King deserves credit for being outspoken in his support, but with the clock winding down on this year’s Congress, the group is urging King to do just a little bit more.
“We don’t just need Pete, we need the Republican Party in Congress to come out in favor of comprehensive immigration reform,” Young explains. “And he’s somebody who is really ideally poised for doing that nationally.”
Young says King can draw additional courage from a new America’s Voice poll, which shows 82 percent of voters in his district support comprehensive reform.
House Speaker John Boehner has said he doesn’t intend to let the plan passed by the Senate come up for a House vote.
Daniel Altschuler, coordinator with the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, says one of the most remarkable numbers in the latest poll is that 85 percent of Republican voters in King’s district now support comprehensive reform.
“What this poll shows is that across all parties, across all demographic groups, support is strong,” he says. “And the notion that Republicans don’t support immigration reform is flatly wrong.”
Young is convinced that King is the right person to persuade fellow Republicans who are looking for real solutions rather than bumper-sticker slogans.
“He’s an expert on homeland security,” Young points out. “He’s a bona fide conservative. He’s also running for president. Those are things that we hope will be persuasive to other Republicans to support immigration reform.”
Some argue it’s too late to address the issue this year, but Altschuler disagrees.
“The notion that there is not time is preposterous,” he says. “Speaker John Boehner needs to give us a vote, because we know that we have the votes for comprehensive reform.”
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