February 11, 2013
Americans following Capitol Hill’s immigration amnesty maneuvering could be forgiven for being confused as to its progress. At this early stage, of course, no specific legislation has been introduced. All the nation has to gauge what’s going on are the various Sunday morning speculative talk shows and the mainstream print media’s accounting—two notoriously unreliable sources.
Four separate polls recently released show different results.
Here’s, in reverse order of their credibility, are the polls’ results. First, the Washington Post/ABC News found that based on a Senate promise to secure the borders, provide vigorous internal enforcement that would result in heavy fines for employers that hire aliens, 49 percent polled approve citizenship for illegal immigrants versus 39 percent who disapprove. When the polling data was broken out, however, 83 percent of respondents favor stronger border control. That statistic proves that the crucial element in any immigration deal is border security. Nevertheless, analysts reported the polling as a “record” level of support for President Obama’s goals.
Pulse Opinion Research [POR] conducted a second poll and got different results; 52 percent of likely voters indicated that they want illegal aliens to return to their native countries. The polls’ wording accounts for the different findings. The Post/ABC poll offered respondents two choices: mass deportation or eventual citizenship. But 70 percent of those polled by POR did not anticipate that immigration laws would be enforced and 69 percent believe that providing legal status to illegal aliens encourages more illegal immigration. The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act promised but did not deliver enforcement; nearly 3 million aliens received amnesty. Today 25 years later, because of the lack of enforcement during two and a half decades, nearly four times the numbers of aliens reside in the United States as did in 1986.
A Gallup Poll, the third in our review, backs up POR’s findings: 62 percent of Americans think stopping illegal immigration should be a top priority for President Obama's second term while only 37 percent agree that citizenship for aliens should be his main concern.
Finally, Rutgers University administered the fourth and perhaps most telling poll. Titled “Diminished Lives and Futures: a Portrait of America in the Great Recession Era,” the Rutgers results confirmed the sad truth already painfully familiar to many. During President Obama’s first term, 23 percent of all working age Americans lost a job. An additional 11 percent reported that during the same period someone in their immediate family had become unemployed while 26 percent had an extended family member—parent, uncle, aunt or cousin— fired. The report concluded that during the last four years one-third of American households—approximately 39 million—lost work as a result of the recession.
When asked during the Rutgers study to identify the causes for their job displacement, 70 percent identified “competition/cheap labor from other countries” and 40 percent pointed to “illegal immigrants taking jobs from Americans.”
Yet in the midst of the ongoing jobs crisis, Congress is focused on trying to cobble together an amnesty for 11 million illegal aliens who as part of their legal residency status will receive automatic work authorization.
Washington’s political fixation on amnesty and its callous indifference toward the fate of unemployed Americans is at odds with reality. The only way to avert a disastrous amnesty will be a stepped up grassroots campaign waged against Congress with the goal of putting Americans’—and especially working Americans— interests first.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org