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Public Rejects False Choices on Immigration

Apr
14
2006

For the first time since the national debate on immigration began, pollsters went to the people to ask Americans what they really want. Faced with to seemingly irreconcilable choices on Capitol Hill, the public came back and said, “we want both!”
In a nationwide survey conducted by the Los Angeles Times, a majority of Americans said they’d support the Democratic plan to allow undocumented workers to get a path to citizenship. In the same survey, more Americans were for fencing off the border than were against it. A majority also supported creating a guest-worker program.
Cheers can be heard coming from all corners of Capitol Hill as everyone can now say they’re trying to implement the will of the people.
But the people pulled a fast one on Congress, rejecting the false dichotomy of the partisan choices. Forced to choose between one solution or both, those polled said by a 2-to-1 margin that they’d take both stronger enforcement and a guest worker program. Heh.
Similar results came out of California this week in the Field Poll’s bilingual survey of Californians.
Californians favor: a path to citizenship, a guest-worker program, penalties on employers of illegal immigrants, and requiring immigrants who have been here less than two years to leave the country. Practically the only things we’re against are giving illegals drivers’ licenses and arresting illegal aliens and charging them with a felony.
So while politicians in Washington bicker about who’s at fault for stalling the Senate compromise on Immigration reform, the public is seriously engaging in the issue and forming their own opinions.
Mostly, they favor an approach which embraces both the Democrats’ and the Republicans’ proposals to grant rights to immigrants already here and toughen enforcement at the border. In other words, most Americans probably support George Bush’s proposals—just don’t ask the question that way on a poll!

Share  Posted by Scott Olin Schmidt at 2:05 PM | Permalink

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