Sunday, on “Meet the Press,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., making a case for the squishy Senate immigration reform bill, stated that three-fourths of the American people support “comprehensive” immigration reform.”Comprehensive immigration reform” in the current political debate means making a lot of “feel good” promises about border security and enforcing immigration law while opening the floodgates to 66 million more legal immigrants over the next 20 years and granting amnesty to the 11 to 20 million people who are living here illegally.
Of course, Graham doesn’t use the word “amnesty.” He calls it “creating a path to earned citizenship.”
Do three-fourths of the American people really support that bill? Are we really that dumb?
Congress granted amnesty to those who had broken into the country in 1986. It was supposed to be a one-time deal followed by tough enforcement of our immigration laws.
Remember the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me”? Are three-fourths of us really ready to fall for this ruse again?
I searched for the poll on which Graham and the majority of his Senate colleagues now are hanging their hats. It was done in 2005 for the National Immigration Forum – a spin-off of the American Immigration Lawyers Association – and repeated again this year with several damning questions removed.
The spin on the poll presented to our legislators is that immigration ranks very low as an issue Americans care about most. The party that votes to open the floodgates will gain support from these new arrivals and will not be hurt by a voter backlash. This is wishful thinking!
The number one issue with voters always has been, always will be, “The Economy, Stupid.” However, more and more people now understand that opening the floodgates to millions more immigrants will affect their personal economy. Legislators who assume voters don’t care about this issue are making a big mistake!
The pollsters ask respondents: “What if there were a candidate who stood for most of the things you believe in, but took a stand on immigration that you really disagreed with: Would you definitely/probably vote for that candidate, or probably/definitely not vote for that candidate?”
We all know that it is impossible to get a representative who votes our way 100 percent of the time, so the majority said that they would vote for the candidate who stood with them most of the time.
Republicans are missing the boat, however, when they take this too literally. The operative phrase in this question was “who stood for most of the things you believe in.” Please, give us such a candidate! Representatives who are caving in on the immigration issue are rolling over on most other issues as well!
Clearly, this was a “push poll,” leading respondents down the garden path to guarantee a desired result.
Respondents were asked if they would support a proposal that would allow an immigrant to have a pathway to citizenship if he or she were in this country working, paying taxes and learning English. It was presented as an issue of fairness. However, there was no mention of an immigrant being here illegally.
The two issues that helped “push” respondents to support “comprehensive immigration reform” were the requirement that all undocumented workers would have to “register” and that “tougher penalties” for those who violate our immigration laws would be imposed.
If support is so high for the “comprehensive” immigration reform plan offered by the Senate, then why did only 9 percent of 2005 respondents say they believe that legal immigration should be increased? That fact was conveniently buried by the National Immigration Forum.
In fact, the most telling questions conveniently omitted from last year’s poll were the ones that found that 55 percent of respondents felt the need to significantly reduce immigration into the United States over the next five years, and 58 percent believe that all we need to do to fix the immigration system is enforce the laws already in place.
In the 2006 poll, 65 percent of respondents felt there should be no consideration of what to do about future immigration until we have increased security at the border and increased enforcement for punishing employers who are currently employing illegal immigrants.
Voters are not saying they want these things done simultaneously. They are saying, “Show us you can do the former before you attempt the latter.”
In other words, taken as a whole, these statements align voters with the House plan, which deals only with enforcement and puts voters in direct conflict with the Senate plan they were “pushed” to support.