CONGRESS

Public Wants Immigrants to Be Able to Stay

.photo.left{display:none;}

Protestors march outside the Alabama Capitol during a demonstration against Alabama's immigration law in Montgomery, Ala., Tuesday Nov. 15, 2011. Federal courts have blocked parts of the Republican-backed law from taking effect, but both supporters and critics still call it the nation's toughest state law against illegal immigration. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)  
National Journal
Ronald Brownstein
Dec. 6, 2011, 4:30 p.m.

As the de­bate over im­mig­ra­tion con­tin­ues to roil the Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial field, a sub­stan­tial ma­jor­ity of Amer­ic­ans say they would prefer to al­low some or all il­leg­al im­mig­rants to re­main in the United States, the latest United Tech­no­lo­gies/Na­tion­al Journ­al Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion Poll has found.

When asked what should be done with the roughly 11 mil­lion il­leg­al im­mig­rants in the coun­try, just 25 per­cent of those polled said that they should all be de­por­ted “no mat­ter how long they have been in the U.S.”

An­oth­er 28 per­cent of those sur­veyed said that all il­leg­al im­mig­rants should be al­lowed “to stay, provided they have broken no oth­er laws and com­mit to learn­ing Eng­lish and U.S. his­tory.” The largest group, at 39 per­cent, said that the United States should “de­port some, but al­low those who have been here for many years and have broken no oth­er laws to stay here leg­ally.”

The United Tech­no­lo­gies/Na­tion­al Journ­al Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion Poll was con­duc­ted by Prin­ceton Sur­vey Re­search As­so­ci­ates In­ter­na­tion­al from Dec. 1 to 4; it in­ter­viewed 1,008 adults by land­line and cell phone. It has a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or minus 3.7 per­cent­age points.

The poll’s three op­tions on im­mig­ra­tion cor­res­pond ap­prox­im­ately to the po­s­i­tions of the three lead­ing fig­ures in the 2012 pres­id­en­tial race. Former House Speak­er Newt Gin­grich, now emer­ging as the GOP front-run­ner, has ad­voc­ated the third op­tion: He ar­gues that long­time il­leg­al im­mig­rants who have broken no oth­er laws should be gran­ted a right to stay in the coun­try, al­though without cit­izen­ship, by loc­al com­munity boards.

Mitt Rom­ney, the erstwhile Re­pub­lic­an front-run­ner, has aligned him­self closest to the first op­tion. He has said that Gin­grich’s plan amounts to am­nesty and that all il­leg­al im­mig­rants should re­ceive no spe­cial priv­ileges in ap­ply­ing for cit­izen­ship, al­though he has been some­what vague on wheth­er he be­lieves they should be re­quired to leave the coun­try be­fore do­ing so.

Pres­id­ent Obama, like most Demo­crats, has ar­gued that all il­leg­al im­mig­rants who have com­mit­ted no oth­er crime should be provided a path­way to cit­izen­ship, so long as they meet cer­tain re­quire­ments, such as learn­ing Eng­lish.

In the sur­vey, the views of Re­pub­lic­an and Demo­crat­ic voters di­verged some­what but gen­er­ally over­lapped more than the rhet­or­ic of each party’s na­tion­al lead­ers. This is con­sist­ent with oth­er polling that has reg­u­larly shown that even a sub­stan­tial por­tion of the GOP elect­or­ate views mass de­port­a­tion as un­work­able.

In the Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion Poll, just 33 per­cent of Re­pub­lic­ans sup­por­ted de­port­ing all ileg­al im­mig­rants. That’s sig­ni­fic­antly more than the 15 per­cent of Demo­crats who backed that ap­proach. In a roughly mir­ror im­age, just 19 per­cent of Re­pub­lic­ans wanted to al­low all il­leg­al im­mig­rants to stay, com­pared with 32 per­cent of Demo­crats. In both parties, though, the largest group aligned be­hind the choice Gin­grich has cham­pioned: al­low­ing long-term il­leg­al im­mig­rants who have not broken any oth­er law to re­main. Forty-three per­cent of Re­pub­lic­ans and 42 per­cent of Demo­crats backed that op­tion. In­de­pend­ents split al­most evenly between the three op­tions.

Sim­il­arly, while the res­ults con­tained im­port­ant ra­cial dif­fer­ences, the gap was not as large as it was on some oth­er is­sues. Even among whites, just 28 per­cent sup­port de­port­ing all il­leg­al im­mig­rants, while 24 per­cent want to al­low all to re­main, and 40 per­cent want to de­port some.

The poll also found pub­lic skep­ti­cism about an­oth­er con­ser­vat­ive pri­or­ity. Last month, the House passed le­gis­la­tion re­quir­ing any state that al­lows res­id­ents to carry con­cealed weapons to re­cog­nize the con­cealed-carry per­mits gran­ted by every oth­er state. That le­gis­la­tion at­trac­ted 58 votes when Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., offered it in the Sen­ate in 2009, and his staff says he is con­sid­er­ing op­tions to at­tach the pro­pos­al to oth­er le­gis­la­tion now.

The poll presen­ted re­spond­ents with brief ar­gu­ments for and against the idea, not­ing: “Sup­port­ers say this is ne­ces­sary to en­sure people au­thor­ized to carry con­cealed weapons in their own state can pro­tect them­selves wherever they are,” while “Op­pon­ents say it would un­der­mine each state’s abil­ity to set its own stand­ards for who can carry guns, like age or train­ing re­quire­ments.”

After hear­ing those ar­gu­ments, 49 per­cent of adults said they op­posed the le­gis­la­tion and be­lieved it “should not be­come law.” Just 40 per­cent said they sup­por­ted it. The idea pre­cip­it­ated a sharp gender gap: Al­though men sup­por­ted it by a nar­row 47 per­cent to 45 per­cent plur­al­ity, wo­men op­posed it by a sol­id 53 per­cent to 33 per­cent ma­jor­ity. Whites nar­rowly op­posed the idea, while minor­it­ies res­isted it by a lar­ger mar­gin.

Edu­ca­tion among whites marked an­oth­er im­port­ant di­vid­ing line. The con­cealed-weapons bill drew sup­port from a plur­al­ity of whites without four-year de­grees (and sup­port from nearly three-fifths of such non­col­lege men). Mean­while, col­lege-edu­cated whites op­posed the pro­pos­al by 2-to-1.

What We're Following See More »
LEGACY PLAY
Sanders and Clinton Spar Over … President Obama
8 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama became a surprise topic of contention toward the end of the Democratic debate, as Hillary Clinton reminded viewers that Sanders had challenged the progressive bona fides of President Obama in 2011 and suggested that someone might challenge him from the left. “The kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans, I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama,” she said. “Madame Secretary, that is a low blow,” replied Sanders, before getting in another dig during his closing statement: “One of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate.”

THE 1%
Sanders’s Appeals to Minorities Still Filtered Through Wall Street Talk
9 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

It’s all about the 1% and Wall Street versus everyone else for Bernie Sanders—even when he’s talking about race relations. Like Hillary Clinton, he needs to appeal to African-American and Hispanic voters in coming states, but he insists on doing so through his lens of class warfare. When he got a question from the moderators about the plight of black America, he noted that during the great recession, African Americans “lost half their wealth,” and “instead of tax breaks for billionaires,” a Sanders presidency would deliver jobs for kids. On the very next question, he downplayed the role of race in inequality, saying, “It’s a racial issue, but it’s also a general economic issue.”

DIRECT APPEAL TO MINORITIES, WOMEN
Clinton Already Pivoting Her Messaging
10 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

It’s been said in just about every news story since New Hampshire: the primaries are headed to states where Hillary Clinton will do well among minority voters. Leaving nothing to chance, she underscored that point in her opening statement in the Milwaukee debate tonight, saying more needs to be done to help “African Americans who face discrimination in the job market” and immigrant families. She also made an explicit reference to “equal pay for women’s work.” Those boxes she’s checking are no coincidence: if she wins women, blacks and Hispanics, she wins the nomination.

THE QUESTION
How Many Jobs Would Be Lost Under Bernie Sanders’s Single-Payer System?
17 hours ago
THE ANSWER

More than 11 million, according to Manhattan Institute fellow Yevgeniy Feyman, writing in RealClearPolicy.

Source:
WEEKEND DATA DUMP
State to Release 550 More Clinton Emails on Saturday
17 hours ago
THE LATEST

Under pressure from a judge, the State Department will release about 550 of Hillary Clinton’s emails—“roughly 14 percent of the 3,700 remaining Clinton emails—on Saturday, in the middle of the Presidents Day holiday weekend.” All of the emails were supposed to have been released last month. Related: State subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation last year, which brings the total number of current Clinton investigations to four, says the Daily Caller.

Source:
×