Survey: Most Georgians want immigration overhaul

Georgia business leaders on Wednesday released the results of a survey showing most people in this state support offering legal status or U.S. citizenship to immigrants living illegally here.

Of those polled, 35 percent said they would support legal status for them; 26 percent would support eligibility for citizenship; 34 percent want all those living here illegally to be deported; and 5 percent are not sure.

Harper Polling surveyed 509 likely Georgia voters by telephone between June 26 and June 30. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points. The polling firm did the work for the Partnership for a New American Economy, a group of business leaders and mayors who support offering a pathway to legal status for immigrants living illegally in the U.S. Among the group’s co-chairmen are former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer.

The poll results also show 88 percent of those surveyed say the nation’s immigration system needs to be fixed. Further, most said they would strongly or somewhat support a plan that would bolster border security, offer more visas for high-skilled foreign workers and farm laborers and provide a program to verify whether people are legally allowed to work in the U.S.

Last year, the Democratic-led Senate passed bipartisan immigration legislation that would do all of those things. But the bill has stalled in the Republican-controlled House. GOP House leaders have refused to allow a vote on the bill, saying it would reward lawbreakers with amnesty. They want to instead take a piecemeal approach to overhauling the nation’s immigration laws.

“Our broken immigration system is not a problem that can be put off,” Karen Bremer, executive director Georgia restaurant Association, said in a prepared statement Wednesday. “I need certainty for our industry — and we as a nation need the certainty that comes with getting control of our borders and restoring the rule of law. The stakes could hardly be higher. We need Congress to act.”

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