Will immigration be the hot issue of 2008? Joe questioned whether that’s actually the case, and encountered the predictable maelstrom of the anti-immigration forces (including the equally predictable nastiness). But what does the public really think about the subject? Of course, most everyone likes buzzwords like "securing the border," and they generally don’t like terms like "amnesty," but what specific policies do Americans favor? Some useful figures are available here. A few highlights from the latest CNN poll:
Only 45 percent of Americans surveyed favor constructing a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border; 53 percent oppose it.
Forty-eight percent of those polled support some sort of "guest worker" program, while 50 percent oppose it.
A whopping 80 percent of those polled favor a program "that would allow illegal immigrants already living in the United States for a number of years to stay in this country and apply for U.S. citizenship if they had a job and paid back taxes"--which sounds a lot like amnesty to me. Only 19 percent oppose such a measure.
Now, none of this is to say that stronger enforcement measures aren’t needed, or that amnesty is necessarily sound policy. It’s just hard to argue that this is any sort of slam-dunk issue for the Republicans in 2008.