Immigration Poll Reveals Americans Prefer House Approach
By Renee Burrell
Recently, the Center for Immigration Studies sponsored a Zogby poll that revealed more Americans prefer the House of Representatives' enforcement-only bill by 2-1 over the Senate's proposals to legalize illegal immigrants and increase legal immigration. The poll's findings include:
When offered by itself, there was some support for the Senate approach, though not as much as for the House bill. Forty two percent of those polled said the Senate approach was a good or very good idea when told it would "allow illegal immigrants to apply for legal status provided they met certain criteria, and it would significantly increase legal immigration and increase enforcement of immigration laws". Fifty percent said it was a bad or very bad idea. One reason the poll found was the public does not like legalization because they are skeptical of the need for illegal-immigrant labor. An overwhelming majority of 77 percent said there are plenty of Americans to fill low-wage jobs if employers pay and treat workers better; just 15 percent said there are not enough Americans for such jobs. Another reason the public does not like legalization is that they are skeptical of the need for illegal-immigrant labor.
- Americans want less, not more, immigration. Only 26 percent said immigrants were assimilating fine and think immigration should continue at current levels. But 67 percent said immigration should be reduced in order to assimilate those already here.
- When offered by itself, there is strong support for the House bill: 69 percent said it was a good or very good idea when told that it tries to make illegals go home by fortifying the border, forcing employer verification, and encouraging greater cooperation with local law enforcement, while not increasing legal immigration. Only 27 percent said it was a bad or very bad idea.
- Support for the House approach was widespread, with 81 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of independents, 57 percent of Democrats, and 53 percent of Hispanics saying it was good or very good idea.
- There were few groups in which a majority supported the Senate plan, even when presented by itself. Exceptions included Hispanics, 62 percent of whom said it was a good or very good idea, and the most liberal voters (progressives), 54 percent of whom approved of it.
- The public also does not accept the argument that past efforts to enforce the law failed: 71 percent felt that past enforcement efforts have been ''grossly inadequate,'' while only 19 percent felt we had made a ''real effort'' to enforce our laws.
But when given a choice between just the House and Senate approaches, without the choice of mass deportations, the public prefers the House approach 64 percent to 30 percent.
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