Amnesty – Truth Or Dare?

i Immigracion ! by Joseph Joves for Flickr CC -
i Immigracion ! by Joseph Joves for Flickr CC -

WASHINGTON, February 26, 2014 – One universal trait of open borders advocates and the proponents of legalizing 12 to 15 million (perhaps more) illegal aliens, is their consistent referral to polls that they claim finds Americans in favor of amnesty. 

As Perry Mason, the famous TV courtroom lawyer might object – “your Honor, Counsel’s reference to these alleged polls is incompetent, irrelevant and assumes facts not in evidence.” And that is certainly the case with regards to Immigration ‘Reform’ as it is being promoted by corporations, industry lobbies, Democrats and GOP Elites.

The body of opinion research going back from this very moment in time – as far back as you wish to look, completely refutes the oft repeated narrative of the amnesty proponents, that “Americans strongly favor (‘immigration reform’, ‘legalized status’, ‘path to citizenship’, ‘fixing our broken immigration system’), etc. Do such polls exist? Yes, absolutely they do. Are they representative of the total body of polling that has been accumulated? No – they are outliers and there is a reason why they are. The answer is methodology. Reason and common sense should suggest that if one or two polls diverge from a consistent trend of results over a long period of time, the poll has been constructed to produce a particular pre-determined outcome.

Such is the case with one survey recently that caught the attention of those who monitor opinion on this subject. The Fox News poll on the subject from January 19 – 21, appears to be a common variation on a ‘push poll’. Ordinarily push polls are used by political parties or partisan groups to emphasize negative information to an individual being surveyed in order to not only influence opinion, but to generate a poll result that conforms to the policy or candidate the pollsters are pursuing. While polls like that of Fox are not strictly categorized as push polls, they do borrow some of the disingenuous methods.

The Fox poll produced a result suggesting that 68% of those surveyed, favored providing illegals with a path to citizenship. How they arrived at this is an interesting case study in manipulation. The loaded question in the poll read as follows:

Which of the following comes closest to your view about what government policy should be toward illegal immigrants currently in the United States? Should the government …

1) Send all illegal immigrants back to their home country;
2) Have a guest worker program that allows immigrants to remain in the United States to work, but only for a limited amount of time;
3) Allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country and eventually qualify for U.S. citizenship, but only if they meet certain requirements like paying back taxes, learning English, and passing a background check;
4) Don’t know

The 68% agreement was on option #3. What’s remarkable about option 3? Option 3 is the single option among the four that ‘leads the witness’ in courtroom parlance. How so?  It outlines provisions of the Senate Bill (S744), that are completely speculative in nature.

As I’ve noted before here and here, the likelihood of any illegal immigrant actually owing taxes – any taxes, is statistically non-existent. Next, what defines learning English? Incidentally, it should be pointed out that in a Gallup poll from last July, 72% percent of respondents consider immigrants acquiring English skills very important or ‘essential’. If evidence was provided these poll respondents and those of the CNN and Fox News polls that there is little to no likelihood of such a provision ever being effectively enforced, is is not reasonable to assume that the ostensible support for legalization would collapse?

Finally, passing a background check. Are background checks reliable in the case of individuals who, in large part, have been providing employers with false personal information and stolen Social Security identification numbers?

The mass media use of polls for the purposes of driving the social phenomenon of ‘group think’ on political issues necessitates leaving the reality of all these provisions up to the imagination of the person being surveyed. To the extent that these mythical ‘requirements’ have some attraction to the low information voter who doesn’t know that lawmakers made and broke these very same promises in 1986, with the IRCA (Immigration Reform and Control Act) otherwise known as ‘Simpson-Mazzoli’ – they exploit public misconceptions. However, the normal consequence of polls not leading the respondent with ‘push’ questions, consistently shows strong opposition to amnesty.

In the Rasmussen poll of October 22, 2013, only 25 percent consider it at all likely that the federal government will secure the border and prevent more illegal immigration with new legislation. In the same poll, 62 % think legalization should occur only after the border is secured.

In his July 2013 poll, Rasmussen found that when informed that the bill passed by the Senate would only possibly curtail by 50% (CBO analysis), only 39% of likely voters were in favor. Respondents to an ABC News / Washington Post survey in April of last year, found 80% endorsing “stricter border control” as the solution to reduce illegal immigration. Even a July 2013 poll by Latino Opinions found that 60% of registered Hispanic voters support granting amnesty to “undocumented immigrants” only if illegal immigration is reduced by 90%. Additionally 64% of Hispanic voters support the use of E-verify, with only 29% opposed. So much for all these dire predictions by Democrats and the GOP establishment, of electoral disaster among Hispanics if Republicans don’t pass an amnesty bill.

The CIS/Pulse poll of April 2013 found that 72% support reducing the illegal alien population by requiring employers to check workers’ legal status, fortifying the border, and federal cooperation with local police. 54% strongly support this approach. This one from Reuters/ Ipsos of April 2013 caught my attention. It finds that 53% of U.S. citizens believe that most or all illegal aliens should be deported (30% most, 23% all), while 36% want all or most to stay (5% all, 31% most). 75% percent of Republicans think all or most immigrants should be deported, 40% of Democrats think the same. Rasmussen also found that 80% of likely voters want to end illegal immigration, with 58% saying it is “very important”  (Rasmussen, February 2013).

Polling numbers from a wide assortment of media and independent pollsters show consistent opposition to all facets of illegal immigration and legislative initiatives that reward illegals for violating immigration law – going all the way back to 2008, when the last major push for immigration ‘reform’ was trotted out by President George W. Bush and the late Senator Ted Kennedy.

The other polling entity aside from Fox News that is producing results inconsistent with the bulk of the other recent polls is CNN. “Starting in 2012, most Americans have said that the government’s focus should be on a plan that would allow those immigrants to become legal U.S. residents. A majority has consistently taken that position since that time – 56% in 2012, 53% in 2013, and 54% in the current poll,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

To contradict and call into serious question CNN’s latest and Fox’s latest poll, is the Pew Research poll from just this last November.  60% oppose Obama and GOP leadership on immigration reform amnesty. With 60% opposed, the poll also found “only about a third of the public (32%) approves of the job Obama is doing on immigration policy.”   (Oct. 30-Nov. 6. 2013, Pew Research Center poll)

But what does polling in 2014 show?  In a January Gallup poll, only 3 percent of Americans support granting an illegal immigrant the right to live and work in the U.S. Immigration lags at least a half dozen other more pressing problems that include an out of touch Congress, which 21 percent identified as their top concern. It should also be of interest that the same survey question was asked by Pew Research, the prior January and in it, 21% of respondents identified immigration as a key issue. From 21% to 3% in one year tells us that the Fox and CNN polls don’t pass the smell test.

We could be here all day with ‘Poll Wars’ (sounds like an idea for a reality TV show – ssssshhhhh), but I want to illustrate something for you that Fox and CNN scrupulously avoid due to the radioactive nature of the subject. Remember the poll I just referred to – the Gallup poll, where only 3% of the persons surveyed thought ‘reforming’ immigration laws were anything of concern? Care to guess what the hot button topics actually were in that poll?  Yup, you got it –  the economy, 18 percent; unemployment, jobs and health care, each at 16 percent and the federal budget deficit, 8 percent.

So, suppose I design a poll that ties the lack of available jobs to the Obama Administration’s (and Congress’) failure to enforce immigration laws? Remember that there is no dispute on either side of this issue that illegals are now taking 8 million jobs in the economy. Keep in mind also that figures of how many jobs a month are needed just to maintain pace with the number of Americans needing to enter the job market based on population growth ranges from about 100,000 to 150,000. If we take the average between the two, that means that most likely anything above 125,000 new jobs would have an incremental, if pathetically anemic impact on the actual, not fictional unemployment statistics the Labor Department releases.  The dirty little secret the policy wonks refuse to discuss in any interviews or articles, is the pool of 8 million jobs merely waiting for eVerify to open them up to Americans!

Ask someone who is unemployed, underemployed or at risk of losing their job in ‘Obama’s Recovery’ if they would be willing to see immigration vigorously enforced if it would open up a job opportunity and improve the wage structure. How much of a dent would the availability of 8 million jobs make, not only in the jobs picture, but in the optimism towards the economy in general?  Well, guess what – we have that poll.

National All – Voters  Survey of 1,000 Likely Voters Conducted February 11 – 12, 2014
By Pulse Opinion Research
Margin  of  Sampling  Error,  +/ -­- 3  percentage  points  with  a  95%  level

The government reports that 20 million Americans who want a full-time job cannot
find one. Over the next two years how would you rate their prospects of getting a
job…excellent, good, fair or poor?

5%    Excellent

24%  Good

35%  Fair

35%  Poor

2%    Not sure

Here’s the real ‘moment of truth’:

Which do you agree with more – we face labor shortages In construction and service occupations that require increases in less – educated immigrants, OR there are plenty of  less – educated Americans to do the jobs?

10%  We face labor shortages that require increases in less – educated immigrants

73%  There are plenty of less – educated Americans to do the jobs

17%  Not sure

There is a lot more that is eye opening about this survey that reinforces the clear reality that we already know about actual American opinion on illegal immigration, border security, employment, along with some areas that are vulnerabilities that require all of us who are opposed to amnesty and even unsustainable levels of legal immigration to continue the effort of educating voters.

At the end of the day, with respect to polling, I personally have two observations.  One is that because there is a lot of volatility with polls concerning any political topic, we should not be preoccupied with them or consider them an entirely reliable measure of the pulse of the public on them. If we were to crunch the numbers with all of the polls that have been taken let’s say, in the last 3 years, we would find that basically the averages would show that a simple plurality of voters disapprove of amnesty and the notion of affording even LPR (Legal Permanent Residency) status to our present illegal population.  They also demonstrate that top of public consciousness is the government’s abject failure to do the one thing we rely on them to do – secure the borders.

But I also think that good immigration policy, just like any other public policy, should not be arbitrated via a popularity contest. The media and corporate special interests they serve, use public opinion polls not only as tools of propaganda, but as trivial ‘infotainment’.

We have to relentlessly present our case based on data points, common sense, rational examination and cold, hard facts.

Richard Cameron, is editor of Blasted and host / producer of Open Rebellion Radio on BlogTalkRadio. Blasted Fools is an all-original content, independent conservative blog site. 

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