Skip to comments.What Immigration Polls Show (Most people don't know what's in the bill)
Posted on 05/03/2013 7:08:42 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
More than two weeks after the Gang of Eight unveiled its immigration-reform bill, an important question remains unanswered: Do the American people actually support it?
One could assume so, judging from the headlines on recent polling, which cite the strong or even overwhelming support for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Indeed, these polls show large majorities as high as 83 percent favoring a pathway to citizenship. That might be significant if the Gang of Eights plan were merely a vague proclamation of support for the idea of giving illegal immigrants the opportunity to apply for citizenship at some point in the future. A closer look at the polling and at the bills provisions reveals a much more ambiguous picture of public support for the measure.
A Pew poll released in April asked respondents for their opinions on the bill, from what youve seen and heard so far. Just 33 percent said they favored the legislation, while 28 percent were opposed. A plurality of respondents (38 percent) said they dont know. Thats hardly an overwhelming indication of support. Most polls simply ask about the general concept of giving illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship, and voters responses change significantly depending on how pollsters phrase the question. For example, when people are asked about giving citizenship to illegal immigrants who meet certain requirements, such as learning English, paying fines and back taxes, and passing a criminal-background check, support usually reaches overwhelming levels. According to a New York Times/CBS News poll published Wednesday, 83 percent of Americans would support a pathway to citizenship under these conditions.
However, a Washington Post/ABC News poll released in April asked the same question but without listing any special requirements. Not surprisingly, it showed support for a path to citizenship to be much lower: 54 percent among registered voters.
A Quinnipiac poll published Thursday offered the additional option of letting illegal immigrants stay in the country but not become eligible for citizenship. Only 11 percent of registered voters backed this option, but only 52 percent supported a full pathway. A Pew poll in April asked a similar question and found that only 43 percent of Americans favored a pathway to citizenship, with 24 percent preferring legal residency as an alternative.
If we can glean anything from these results, it is that a slim majority of Americans, or perhaps only a plurality, support the idea of a pathway to citizenship, which the Gangs bill would provide, and that a larger majority would back a pathway to citizenship with certain requirements. But that does not necessarily translate into support for the legislation itself.
The Gangs bill has requirements to learn English, pay taxes, and pass a background check but they arent quite as ironclad as advertised. For example, the bill would require that immigrants seeking citizenship merely be satisfactorily pursuing a course of study . . . to achieve an understanding of English, which is a watered-down version of the language requirement under current law. And even proponents of the bill have dropped their talking point that it would require illegal immigrants to pay back taxes, because it wouldnt. Prospective citizens would have to pay any applicable federal tax liability, defined as all Federal income taxes assessed by the IRS from an official tax filing or audit. However, the off-the-books nature of illegal immigration means it is highly unlikely that either scenario would apply to those seeking legal status; they would simply have to start paying taxes once they became legalized.
#page#Those are just a few of the many loopholes that the bills critics have expressed concern over. In the 867-page document, the Daily Caller found 999 references to waivers, exemptions, or political discretion given to federal officials about 1.14 loopholes per page. And yet reporters, pundits, and professional fact-checkers have devoted little space to scrutiny of the details in the Gangs proposal or to confirming or debunking the talking points on either side of the issue. The Washington Posts Fact Checker site has published zero items on the Gangs legislation. PolitiFact has written only two posts that specifically address claims about the content of the bill that it would not provide amnesty (half true), and that it would offer free phones to illegal immigrants (false). In any event, the Gangs bill has received far less scrutiny than, say, any of the budgets Paul Ryan has written, none of which had a chance of becoming law.
Pollsters have similarly refrained from asking about specific policies in the Gangs bill. On the issue of border security, however, public opinion is fairly clear and appears to be at odds with the legislation that has been presented. As written, the Gangs plan would allow the current population of illegal immigrants to apply for legal status almost immediately, as soon as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security presents a plan to secure the border. However, a Fox News poll released in April found that 68 percent of voters, including 66 percent of Democrats, want new border security measures to be completed before changes to immigration policies. The Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 81 percent of registered voters, and 76 percent of Democrats, support stricter border control to reduce illegal immigration. The bills backers, of course, claim this is precisely what their plan calls for. It would, among other measures, increase funding for border security and set the goal of a 90 percent apprehension rate along sections of the southern border. Critics point out that border-patrol funding has increased dramatically over the past couple of decades with little to show for it, and they note that experts are deeply skeptical that the 90 percent goal could be achieved or even accurately measured.
The New York Times/CBS News poll, which asked a series of follow-up questions, probably comes closest to giving a reasonably accurate measure of public support for the Gangs bill. It found that 46 percent of Americans favored, with conditions, a path to citizenship that would allow illegal immigrants to achieve legal status while border security is still being strengthened. That leaves 43 percent who disagreed, including those who said that legal status should be granted only after the border is secure as well as those who opposed a pathway to citizenship altogether. This would suggest that, on the proposal that Congress is being asked to consider, the public is far more divided than is commonly supposed.
Conservative opponents of the bill, many of whom fear a repeat of the Obamacare fiasco another large piece of highly consequential legislation rushed to passage before many of the bills details were known are annoyed at how little scrutiny the bill has received thus far and at how little interest the media have shown in the policy detail being proposed. Theres no discussion about whats actually in the bill, a conservative GOP Senate aide says. Its always, Is it going to pass? Who is for it? Who is against it? . . . Were confident that the more people find out about what the bill actually does, the less likely they will be to support it.
Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online.
In our nutshell, our current dilemma. Nobody knows what’s in ANY bill. By design.
and 42 % had no idea Obamacare was law of the land
The 83% that like this bill are part of the 90% that liked the gun background check bill.
Most of us realize the media lies on an hourly basis. But this “making a poll up out of thin air” is a new low.
Do the American people actually support it?.2014 will tell,sleep well.
Am I completely out of touch with reality? How is a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens, that is to say criminal invaders popular?
This is just another batch of foolishness.
These idiots assume that all the illegals are benign characters and completely ignore the narco gangs already operating here in our country. NO ONE mentions MS 13, Sinoloa cartel or Gulf cartel types that have set up camp here and have no fear of the federal goberment.
smoke and mirrors that will lead to higher taxes and fewer freedoms again.
You have Pass it to Learn What’s in it. (DemocRATS)