Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

What the polls say about immigration

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.

Discussions - 54 Comments

More nonsense from John Moser.

Rasmussen; "Fifty-six percent (56%) of American adults favor an enforcement-only approach to immigration reform. Only 29% are opposed.

However, support falls sharply when “a path to citizenship” for illegal aliens already in the United States is added to the mix. Just 42% support the more “comprehensive” approach while 44% are opposed. This proposal was similar to a “grand bargain” announced by Senator Arlen Specter earlier in the week."



McLaughin

"There is strong agreement on several measures to fix the immigration problem. Three in four (74%) voters agree that we need to stop the flow of illegal immigrants before we address what to do about those already here. Two in three (63%) Latino voters agree with this statement as well. Voters cite the employment of illegal immigrants as a key factor in eliminating the problem. Voters think the best way to secure the United States-Mexican border is to prevent illegal immigrants from being hired for jobs in the United States (36%). Additionally, voters also say that the best way to stop illegal immigration is to stop employers from hiring illegal immigrants (23%).

There is also widespread support for several proposals to track and identify illegal immigrants. Requiring voters to show valid photo identification when they vote on Election Day in order to stop voter fraud and illegal immigrants from voting receives 82% support among both overall voters and Latino voters. Support is also strong overall (78%) and among Latino voters (73%) for creating a tamper-proof identification card system to determine instantly whether a job applicant is legally entitled to work inside the United States, and to hold those employers who hire illegal workers accountable. Additionally, prohibiting states from issuing drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants appeals to 75% of voters and 59% of Latinos. Voters also approve of Congress’ proposal to create a tamper-proof worker’s card and national database for immigrants who are in the United States legally (72% voters / 67% Latinos).

Voters also seem to be in favor of tougher laws on deportation. Repealing local sanctuary laws that protect illegal immigrants by requiring local and state police to detain illegal immigrants when they are arrested or stopped for other crimes and to hold them for deportation is supported by 77% of voters and 67% of Latino voters. Nearly seven in 10 voters (68%) support enacting a new immigration policy of “zero tolerance,” where any illegal immigrant in the United States would be deported to their country of citizenship. Fewer Latino voters (56%) support this proposal."

It is an insult to neocons to call you people by that name. You are more like neoliberals. The initial neocons were intellectually serious and honest. You are not.

Feel free to delete this. I'll post it again.

Thank you for adding some rational analysis to the issue.

It's a simple issue for me. They are breaking the law by being here and need to be returned to their own country. Moreover, further illegal immigration needs to be prevented, by a fence, wall, or whatever. However, I would thereafter be in favor of mutually beneficial trade to help give Mexicans an incentive to stay in their own country. I would also be in favor of liberalizing the legal immigrant quotas for Mexicans who would like to go through the process and become legal citizens of the United States and enjoy our rights, freedoms, and opportunity. This whole business is a flaunting of law and order and a slap in the face to all people who have come here in a legal manner. I can't see that they would be rewarded for it, like a mugger who gets to keep the money after he's caught.

I wish I could recall where I saw the figures I cited earlier. And for those who didn't see those numbers, I saw an article that said over 60% of the Democrat Party want the border secured, a majority of Hispanic Americans want the border secured and over 90% of Republicans want the border secured.

The numbers I saw didn't ask whether they wanted an unsightly fence constructed, the question was whether they wanted the border "secured." And the overwhelming answer was "YES!"

If asked whether they wanted a "fence," sure the numbers might fall, but if asked whether they wanted the border "secured," I think the number would rise, and rise dramatically.

The word "fence" conjures up images that most Americans don't want to associate with the "land of the free." But if asked whether they wanted the "home of the brave" "secured," that would be another matter entirely.

This isn't simply semantics by the way. This IS a slam dunk issue for Republicans, or at least it ought to be. But considering how politically clumsy they've been of late, especially this second term, they very easily could make it a loser.

I think the people against this program are more likely to vote according to the result than people who are for it. I also think that, like Hillarycare, when the national conversation gets really intense about this again next week, it will start to loose support.

Polling Immigration [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

From Rasmussen:

Fifty-six percent (56%) of American adults favor an enforcement-only approach to immigration reform. Only 29% are opposed.

However, support falls sharply when “a path to citizenship” for illegal aliens already in the United States is added to the mix. Just 42% support the more “comprehensive” approach while 44% are opposed.

The American people appear to have soft positions on certain immigration questions, while clearly rejecting the uncontrolled status quo, because they do not know the details of our dysfunctional system, or of the dysfunctional liberal (and Bush Republican) proposals for addressing it.


The people who want a soft immigration policy, and for whom it is a voting issue, will vote Democratic no matter what. The people who want a realistic immigration policy that's in the national interest, and for whom this is a voting issue, will not be happy about voting for a Republican nominee who doesn't "get it" -- as Rudy, Romney and obviously McCain do not.

This is a question of national identity, of the preservation of the American nation. We don't live in Kant-Land or Hobbes-Land or Locke-Land. We don't live in a world of natural rights formalism. Our Constitution contemplates the preservation of the United States of America, not the United States of the state of nature or the United States of the empires of commerce and humanitarianism. How do those for whom natural rights are the be all and end all of political wisdom oppose coherently open immigration? Political identity cannot be purely abstract. One of my students on his final exam (in post-secular European Studies) suggests that the question of Turkish entry into the EU is analogous to the immensity of the immigration dilemma facing America. Most people I know in real life in South Carolina say that they would be willing to pay higher prices and endure mich to preserve American identity and American nationality. I'd say that's a pretty good working definition of an American to start with.

9: Mega-dittoes.

I'm opposed to any guest-worker program or path to citizenship for illegals.

Stiff employer sanctions, a fence, and attrition are the only solutions. This plan is a repeat of 1986, which was a huge mistake.

Both legal and illegal immigration are being used by big business to drive down the wages of Americans.
See this video:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4094926727128068265


The worst thing ever to happen to the American worker is the marriage of big business and multiculturalism.

Last year, Wal-Mart gave more money to La Raza than to any other organization. I think this says it all.

As any historian knows, a tight labor market is good for wages and innovation. Both legal and illegal immigration are nothing but tools to drive down American wages.

It is absolutely necessary to close the door on any more illegal immigration, and no less to arrest and deport illegal aliens who break criminal laws, though there are thousands of them. But how do we deport the estimated 12 million illegals already in the country? If we do nothing about their current illegal status by focusing on closing the border, how does that encourage them to become citizens? Just wondering.

Feel free to delete this. I'll post it again.

And deny you this opportunity to reveal your sterling character to all the readers of NLT? Perish the thought.

Asking people what they think of illegal immigration is like asking them what they think about terrorism. Of course, they're agin' it. Every poll will show that wide majorities want to stop it. Then you get down to the details, and it's a different matter.

Most people I know in real life in South Carolina say that they would be willing to pay higher prices and endure mich to preserve American identity and American nationality.

Yes, I'm sure plenty of people will say that. Of course, if they were really willing to do that they'd boycott Wal-Mart. But they don't.

Professor Moser can be irritating at times...he fancies himself a conservative, but I know a libertarian when I see one. Being pro-war simply means that he's not completely "out there" (like Ron Paul, I guess).

I've seen polls like the one that was posted to start this thread, and others like Dan mentioned. I'm not sure you can trust opinion polls on this topic...most people are loath to be thought of as racist. I suspect that the "favorable" numbers are considerably inflated. More importantly, do these polls reflect voters? Who knows?

Regardless, it is pretty clear from all the polls I've seen that people generally want lower immigration, and they want a reformed immigration system. And I'm also pretty sure that no pro-amnesty Republican can win the nomination...what "the public" thinks is rather irrelevant to that process.

John, most people in real life don't have the political power to create the conditions that would modify life in the direction they feel would be better. Our representation may be too removed from real civil society, too unpolitical, too oligarchic and cosmopolitan, but it's all we have. Your post seems dismissive without being substantive. To post 12: Your xenophobia is nihilistic. Your particularity is blind. You are as bad as the cosmopolian nihilists.

Also, here's FAIR's take on a variety of opinion polls. Did they cherry-pick them...probably to some extent, but no more than some of the liberal polling companies skew things the other way (typically by sly wording). I think the bottom line here is you can't go wrong running on reform that focuses on enforcement. If I were a candidate, I'd stress enforcement with a promise to use the "down-time" to truly reform the process.

13: Professor Reeb, as I understand the argument, it's this: If we make life harder for the current illegals (by workplace enforcement and raids, especially, but also in other ways) many will "self-deport" as a result. I think the scenario is credible.

Mr. Frisk, Unless the whole "culture" of the federal government changes, I can't see that happening. We're talking in many cases about families, which have bsecome, for better or for worse, firmly rooted and not easily dislodged. Evasion would continue and would pay off in most instances.

Mr. Reeb, you can't really know until you try. Some would clearly self-deport, and others might have to be ejected. Regardless, enforcement would discourage new arrivals, whereas throwing up our hands and saying that it's impossible is just an open invitation to more of this nonsense.

. Every poll will show that wide majorities want to stop it. Then you get down to the details, and it's a different matter.

Then I strongly suggest that you read the polls, including the details, in the links which I provided.

Man, what a loser.

If we do nothing about their current illegal status by focusing on closing the border, how does that encourage them to become citizens?


Has it ever occured to you that becoming citizens is not high on their list of priorities? And that it need not be high on ours either?

"There is strong agreement on several measures to fix the immigration problem. Three in four (74%) voters agree that we need to stop the flow of illegal immigrants before we address what to do about those already here. Two in three (63%) Latino voters agree with this statement as well. Voters cite the employment of illegal immigrants as a key factor in eliminating the problem. Voters think the best way to secure the United States-Mexican border is to prevent illegal immigrants from being hired for jobs in the United States (36%). Additionally, voters also say that the best way to stop illegal immigration is to stop employers from hiring illegal immigrants (23%). "

One would think that even the wretched John Moser would be unable to fail to grasp this. One would be wrong.

Ron Paul is anti-immigration. He has a grade of B+ by Americans for Better immigration.

To answer Richard Reeb (great columns over at Claremont, by the way!!!!!!),
you start one at a time. You catch them working or driving illegally or committing some crime and you give them a free ride back home. Then, graciously allow them to apply to enter this country legally. Otherwise, doesn't it set the precedent that once you come over here illegally, sooner or later the gringos will cave in and let you stay?

Bush sold out the GOP because they failed to support his agenda in 2004 when the GOP controlled the agenda, and congress. No Social Security fix, no immigration reform... This will be his legacy. Of course it will be the death of the GOP. The deomcrats just added 12 million, the GOP lost 10 million to 'disgruntled non-voters'.

The simple thing to do is set the fines for employing an illegal alien at 100K per infraction. Each company will have until Jan 1 2008 to certify every employee. No certification no job. We can provide the bus ride back to the border. In fact Ted Kennedy can drive one.... into the Rio Grande

Then I strongly suggest that you read the polls, including the details, in the links which I provided.

Perhaps you should look back at the post and the polls Dr. Moser linked to. 80 percent 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. That sounds exactly like the agreement that was reached yesterday.

Man, what a loser.

Loser? Moser's ideas are about to become law and yours are not.

I agree...forget the illegals...send their employers to jail (or fine them, or both). End of problem.

19: Yes, but likewise, in many cases, we are not talking about whole families, or even more than one individual. And some families haven't been here long. Many in these groups would self-deport under the right conditions, which could come about without any substantial change in the nature of the welfare state. I think your point is simply that there's no perfect or nearly perfect solution to the problem of current illegals. I don't believe any intelligent person disputes that.

Let me add: I see you're talking about the "culture of the federal government," not the welfare state. It's a good point. 100 percent workplace enforcement is unlikely, in part for this reason. However, the proposal that every non-citizen must have a national ID card in order to work may do the trick in many, many cases. These people don't typically hold jobs long-term. They more often have one job and then another. Getting a new job, let alone a better job, could easily be made more difficult.
Also, Dain is right that substantial changes in immigration law, all or nearly all in the restrictionist direction, could definitely discourage many new illegals from entering. I think it would also contribute to a climate in which current illegals felt increasingly unwelcome.

Given the 12 million already here, no less than Victor Davis Hanson and Mark Steyn have conceded that some sort of amnesty is in order. Short of full-scale deportation, anything less amounts to amnesty. Basing our hopes on people getting discouraged and going home seems odd in view of the obstacles they overcame to come here and the moral support that groups like La Raza give them after they arrive. We're stuck with most of those 12 million. The task now is to make them citizens, but without favoring them over those who have done it legally.

I'm sorry, that's nonsense, Richard. That's like arguing that, given the hopelessness of stopping burglary, we simply make it legal. Even partial enforcement has deterrent effect, and as employer santions and "round-ups" have some bite, self-deportations will accelerate. Such self-reinforcing dynamics will also slow illegal entry. Do you deny it?

And so what if it takes 20 years to find all the illegals -- there's nothing bad about slow and steady enforcement. On the other hand, a mass Massoli-Simpson amnesty-citizenship will only encourage more illegal entry. Do you deny this?

This all seems so self-evident to me that I suspect you (and others who argue along the lines of your "argument") are simply desperate to make these people citizens. They aren't, and they shouldn't be. They are criminals, pure and simple, and they have no god-given right to be in our country.

Outrage and insult add nothing to your arguments. You've ignored what thoughtful anti-illegal immigrant persons have conceded. If a law has not been enforced for a long time, its weight falls upon those who break it upon its re-enforcement, no doubt, and unavoidably, as an example to the ones who got away with it. No doubt this effort, as I hope it will, will slow illegal entry. I am hardly "desperate" for keeping those who made it here already, as contrasted with the desperation in believing that anything short of deportation will achieve what many people hope that enforcement at the border will do now. Certainly, no one who came here illegally has a God-given right to do so, including Cubans fleeing from communism. But they understand that the U.S. offers a better prospect. Indignation is a bad counselor. Cold, hard, calculating reason alone will suffice. We must do the best we can under the current circumstances, rather than wishing we had done what we should have done 20 years ago. Wishing for deportation of 12 million people will not make it so.

You know, Richard, that's EXACTLY what they said 20 years ago. You've said nothing at all in this latest post...not a single refutation of any of the "cold, hard" reasons to favor deportation. Indeed, you've only made an appeal to authority ("what thoughtful anti-immigration persons have conceded"). If you don't want me to insult you, then use some of this "reason" you tout.

Dain,

The "thoughtful people," whom I previously named, are Victor Davis Hanson and Mark Steyn, who conceded last year that some "amnesty" will be required to deal with the large number of illegal immigrants already here. If you need for me to say something more pleasing to keep you from insulting me, evidently you don't need much provocation, for I am only speaking the truth. I've heard Mike Gallagher, Michael Savage and Hugh Hewitt get really indignant about the Bush Admininistration's failures, but they have no idea how to deport 12 million people. I am not responsible for the failures of Simpson-Mazzoli, but I was critical at the time of the contradictory provisions that required employers to report any illegals but penalized them if they singled out any particular ethnic group for "discrimination." Whatever the intent of S/M's authors, that was a disaster waiting to happen. Now we have to clean up the mess, which requires closing the door to new illegals and exacting a cost from those who used the legal system's own laxity to get in. Gee, dain, I hope that didn't make you want to insult me, which evidently would be my own fault.

Again, there is no content to your post. Why are you having such a hard time imagining a dynamic process whereby the motivations for remaining in the country slowly evaporate and these 12 million become 10 million by 2009, 7 million by 2011, and so on? No one is suggesting that we can pass a law and evict 12 million people in a few months...and there is no need to do something like that. Nor does it follow that so many illegals must be accommodated because of their large number. As you find them, you send them home, and so long as border enforcement is strong, eventually the job gets done. In doing this you are sending a consistent message that discourages staying as well as entering in the first place.

Now, instead of throwing famous commentators at me, or acting wounded by my incivility, why don't you try to engage my arguments. If you can't see that trying to seal the border while granting all this amnesty sends contradictory messages and is ultimately self-defeating (just as Simpson-Mazzoli proved to be), then you need to be insulted by someone. It's a dirty, thankless job, but someone's gotta do it.

Don't worry about it Richard. There is nothing you can do to convince some people. If you tell Dain that 2+2=4 he will insist that it is 5. If you show him a math book he will attack your appeal to authority. Eventually he will criticize Lincoln and Moser and call everyone mobies.

Moby!!!!!!!!!!!

dain, 12 million people, spread out all over America is the argument. We would have to make America something like a police state to manage the kind of deportation you are writing about, to find all of those people and send them back. We are not going to do that, so we have to find some other way to manage the 12 million people living with us illegally. We've HAD partial enforcement, and if it has been effective, how have we come to have 12 million people living here illegally?


Still, I hate the amnesty idea as much as anyone else, because is allows the illegal to become legal, and that would seem to undermine law.

Well, I'm sorry, Kate, that's a very poor argument, which boils down to something very simple: If you can just get in, no one will ever send you home, and eventually you'll get granted amnesty and even citizenship. No border/port policy can keep out all the illegals, and without stiff enforcement you have the same problem over and over and over again. There is no substitute for serious enforcement of the rules NOW, and with those who have already broken the law.

This illogical defeatism astonishes me. The very notion that we can't deport people who shouldn't be here simply because there are so many of them is EXACTLY how we got into this mess. At some point you have to get very serious about sending people home, or you might as well open up the borders...eventually your immigration laws will be a joke (as ours are right now). And if you can't find and deport illegals, how are you going to find and prosecute terrorists or plain ol' criminals?

And the whole notion that we "can't" deport these people ignores the fact that we arrest more people than that EVERY YEAR. According to the Department of Justice, all levels of government arrested 14+ million people in 2005, most of whom were doing their best to hide from the law. There is no reason to expect illegals to be better than other criminals at evading the law, particularly when you consider that they are geographically concentrated in places like California and Texas and generally lack linguistic skills and money.

With the proper will and funding, we CAN deport 12 million people if necessary. We don't have to do it quickly, and the fact is that most will probably self-deport over time IF we get truly serious about immigration.

Given the 12 million already here, no less than Victor Davis Hanson and Mark Steyn have conceded that some sort of amnesty is in order. Richard Reeb, Comment #31

You know, Mr. Reeb, funny you should mention Steyn. If he ever supported amnesty, I don't think he does now. You see, sensible people come to view it in the same way I do. Any other view is fraught with internal contradictions and romantic nonsense.

See what I'm saying Richard? Appeals to authority don't work unless Dain does them. He can even appeal to the same authority you do. His appeal counts and yours does not.

Dammit, and all over my clean floor...again! I wish these creatures would stay underground where they belong...molesting small rodents and such.

Awesome turnaround time there. Is there any minute of any day when this guy is not stuck in front of his computer barking at people on this site? He is a net drain on our economy.

no less than Victor Davis Hanson and Mark Steyn have conceded that some sort of amnesty is in order.

First of all, this is untrue.

Second, it says volumes about Richard that he thinks VDH and Steyn are the acme of conservatism.

Moby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Methinks the troll (probably the Scanman) forgets it is Sunday, and blogging is a form of recreation.

Moreover, I think we all notice that neither the troll nor the amnesty crowd are saying much here. Just a few distortions or outright falsehoods, and a bit of lame sarcasm. This is the major reason I can't believe the defeatism...it's illogical and contradicts empirical evidence.

Instead of amnesty they should pass a law that says if you are currently here illegally, YOU CAN NEVER BECOME A CITIZEN. We could call it reverse amnesty. How is that for a disincentive?

Dain, between the money and and the sense of the American people on the subject, With the proper will and funding, we CAN deport 12 million people if necessary. expresses what is part of the problem and a pity. We won't spend the will nor the money. Yes, past apathy and ineptitude as regards illegal immigration has taken us to this point. If we had become truly serious about border control immediately after 9/11, when there might have been some serious political will on the subject, illegal immigration might not be the problem it is, today. If we had EVER be careful about our borders, we might not be in this situation. Maybe this type of enforcement reminds us of "The War on Drugs" and its effectiveness? Call it logical defeatism.

As to geographic concentration: this
was in yesterday's newspaper. There were protests at the City Hall, as well. This is northeast Ohio. dain, these people are everywhere. As Tony says, we can pick them up one at a time when they commit other legal violations (which seems likely, given their proven concern for the law of the land) or 22 at a time, as cited in the article, take them over the border and they go where? Your 14 million arrests seem to keep police busy, and immigration agents can't be everywhere. It seems as if it might have been easy to round up those illegals in the basement of that church, and if a reporter was there, how were there no law enforcement officers there or at the protest of more than 200 people? The immigration agents were already busy with the 22 illegals they had already picked up? Maybe that is it.

Come on now, Kate, you can do better than that last post. We can't do it because we won't do it...that's an argument? Essentially, you are saying that defeatism defeats us. Well, yes it does, so long as people think so tautologically!

We don't have to get 200 million on-board with this. 40 million really upset will be ample. If we sit on our butts then, yes, nothing will be done, but something sure as Hell CAN be done. It just takes attitude, smarts, and money.

As for being everywhere, you are letting thinly-scattered populations fool you. A full 50% of the Hispanic population lives in California and Texas, and the rest are found in MAJOR cities like Chicago.

Now, SNAP OUT OF THIS! Unless you want the West to go the way of the Romans (who, with all their faults, really brought the world quite a lot), it's time to put up a fight. What kind of world do you want your children to grow up in?

I want my children to grow up in a world without legislators (and a president) who think this piece of legislation is a reasonable answer to this problem.


A couple of things bothered me in that article I cite. One is that Mr. Gonzales, interviewed, says he has been here for 13 years. Incredible. The second is that the county estimate for its illegal population is 5,000-8,000 people, so, it might be 5,000 or more than half again that number. We don't have any idea how many illegals are here, do we?

So I also want a country where elected officials deal with a problem like this before we are talking about 12 - or might it be 18 million little problems have to be rounded up. It just takes attitude, smarts, and money. That's what I am worried about.

Yea, the guy's typical -- if you can't beat someone's argument, call 'em a name.

Maybe you meant this as a treat, but it depresses me. With "leaders" like this, we are utterly doomed. That is why I have decided, whatever the short-term consequences, I will never again vote for a candidate that supports amnesty, endless immigration, or multicultural "word woose." I'm done with this...there can be no compromise on this issue.

Yes, I was being sarcastic, but thought you might enjoy having that silliness as ammunition in the next debate on this topic. How's this.
Better?


With "leaders" like this, we are utterly doomed. which is why I call my possibly too ambiguous stand on the issue logical defeatism.


Is it a problem with democracy? As a republic, a less democratic republic, could we have dealt with the pressing and difficult issues in a way that is not going to be possible today? It has been something I have been wondering and worrying about for years, and maybe was what I took as the point of that Mansfield article discussed here a couple of weeks back. Though from some of the responses to that I thought I might have misread it, rethinking the ideas in it to suit myself. Anyway, I question whether it would be possible, democratically allowed, to enforce legislation with real teeth in it. It's not that the U.S. government could not bite hard on any tough problem. The problem is that it will not, and I wonder if it is a problem of the democratic will, or that our system of government has become too responsive to the democratic will to be effective.

Oh well. It's a long thought for the end of a thread. Thanks for the argument.

Yes, Kate, that's much better. Good ol' Tom Sowell...no wonder the Left hates him so much.

He nails it as well. If there are always "too many" illegals to round-up, it guarantees out-of-control illegal migration...3 million in the mid-1980s become 12 million today, and it will be 50 million in another decade or two. Of course, by then, the Hispanic vote will utterly dominate the American Southwe...er, that is, Aztlan.

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