As often happens, an interesting story or new data about our Kentucky Tonight topic emerges shortly after we broadcast the program. That’s the nature of doing a live show in the context of a 24/7 news cycle. It’s also why I enjoy being able to follow-up our Monday discussions with a blog posting.
This week our Kentucky Tonight panel focused on immigration reform. Tuesday morning, The Huffington Post Politics blog reported on a poll about the same topic conducted among likely voters in 20 swing Congressional districts currently represented by Republicans, including seats in California, Colorado, Florida, and New York.
The poll found strong support among Republican, Democratic, and independent voters for a broad outline of comprehensive immigration reform measures, including a pathway to citizenship.
The survey was commissioned by FWD.us, an organization of tech industry executives, including Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who support immigration and education reforms they say will help keep America competitive in the global knowledge economy. As reported in Huffington Post, the poll revealed other insights. In addition to supporting a pathway to citizenship, more than 70 percent of voters favor giving legal status to undocumented young people brought to the country as children, and the E-verify program to check the legal status of potential employees.
We discussed many of these same points on Monday’s Kentucky Tonight program with Jessamine County Attorney Brian Goettl; Nima Kulkarni, an international business and immigration lawyer in Louisville; Kate Miller, program director with the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky; and Luis Pozzolo, director of America for Lawful Immigration Solutions Today (ALIST). Here’s a portion of the conversation where they debated how to handle the millions of illegal immigrants already in the United States.
Despite bipartisan support for some kind of reform, our panelists agreed Congress won’t address immigration in their remaining working days this year, and what may happen in 2014 is uncertain. Brian Goettl says Republicans want to tackle immigration to garner the support of Hispanic voters, but the rift in the party between Tea Party and pro-business factions may make agreement on the details challenging.
Next Monday at 8 p.m., Kentucky Tonight will be pre-empted for a special edition of our Education Matters series. My colleague Renee Shaw will join me for a look at the challenges schools face in overcoming poverty. I’ll have a preview of the show tomorrow.