Two recent polls give somewhat contradictory results on immigration. National pollsters recently asked whether “illegal immigrants who are living and working in the United States now (should be offered a chance to keep their jobs and eventually apply for legal status),” or should they “be deported back to their native country?” A large majority, 62% of Americans, said they should be offered a chance to stay, verses 35% who thought they should be deported. Washington Post/ABC News (April 12 – 15, 2007).
But, an Elon University poll of North Carolinians, spins the issue far more negatively. It asked if illegal immigrants are "a burden on the state, because they take jobs, housing and health care" to which half of the respondents said yes. This question pushed prejudicial ideas into respondents' answers, ignoring the fact that immigrants provide far more economic benefits than not to North Carolina. The poll then asked whether "illegal immigration has been good or bad to North Carolina," and, predictably, less than a quarter said "ILLEGAL ACTIVITY" is good for the state. Duh. Talk about a biased question that tries to manipulate public opinion!
Do North Carolinians really disagree so strongly with the majority of Americans on the issue of immigration? I doubt it. If you ask the same questions, and don't try to manipulate the answers, most Americans and most North Carolinians understand that it makes a lot more sense economically to offer immigrants who are here, employed in jobs, a path to citizenship rather than to expend huge law enforcement resources trying to deport millions of people instead of focusing on hardened criminals. Or to spend billions raiding employers, slapping huge fines on them, and running them out of business because they knowingly or unknowingly hired undocumented workers.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Hagel of Nebraska details what a path to citizenship under his plan would mean.
- Hardline restrictionists lost 2006 elections (by Hans Christian Linnartz, Duke Law Professor)