Pro-immigration Reform Groups Design Poll Questions to Favor 'Gang of Eight'

Pro-immigration Reform Groups Design Poll Questions to Favor 'Gang of Eight'

A new poll released Thursday by advocacy groups in favor of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” immigration bill appears to have been designed to favor the Schumer-Rubio bill, Breitbart News has learned.

The official crosstab polling data, complete with the full questions, shows Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), the National Immigration Forum Action Fund and Partnership for a New American Economy spun the facts of the plan to make it appear more favorable to conservatives and Republicans. 

The poll, which was conducted by The Winston Group on those pro-Schumer-Rubio bill advocates’ behalf, surveyed 800 registered voters nationwide via telephone interview from April 22 to April 23, and intentionally oversampled Republican voters.

When asking poll respondents to say whether they strongly or somewhat oppose or support the Schumer-Rubio bill, the groups described the plan as follows:

A bipartisan group of senators recently introduced legislation to reform the immigration system. The plan establishes border security measures focused on high-risk areas of the Southern border, requires illegal immigrants to pass multiple criminal background checks, pay fines, learn English and pay taxes before getting in line for citizenship, makes E-Verify mandatory for all employers, and creates a new work visa program that regulates immigration according to unemployment. Would you say you support or oppose this plan to reform the immigration system?

According to the crosstab data, 75 percent of overall survey respondents, including 78 percent of Republicans, say they support the plan “as described.” The crosstab data also shows that 54 percent of “Self-identified ‘Tea Party’ voters” support the plan “as described.”

The key phrase the pollsters expect most in the media to overlook, and a survey of headlines across the media thus far shows they have mostly overlooked it, is how the pollsters got their data by reading the Schumer-Rubio plan to respondents “as described.”

The description itself is problematic. Take the second sentence, for instance: the pollsters say the “plan establishes border security measures focused on high-risk areas of the Southern border.” 

While the plan asks the Department of Homeland Security to establish such “border security measures,” the plan itself does not actually do anything on that front. As Breitbart News has detailed time and again, if the bill were signed into law, the DHS Secretary would have six months to submit a border security plan to Congress and say that she has begun implementing it. 

That would enable the legalization of America’s 11 million illegal immigrants, and five whole years would go by before another progress check of DHS was made. 

At that time, if DHS had not completed its goals, a commission made up of politicians throughout Congress, from the White House and from the four border states’ governors’ offices would have six months to write a report giving DHS directions on how to finish the job it failed to do already. If that commission did not finish its report within 180 days, DHS would take over the process again and the vicious cycle of non-border security would restart. 

Even Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is not convinced the Obama administration will actually try to enforce the law, and DHS secretary Napolitano suggested before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week that she, President Obama and other political officials throughout the administration have the power to decide which laws to enforce and which ones to ignore.

Later in the second sentence, the pro-immigration pollsters argue that the bill requires illegal immigrants to “learn English” before getting citizenship. But that is not true, either. When illegal immigrants apply for “registered provisional immigrant” status, the first step in legalization, they do not need to show they know English. When they apply for renewal of their RPI status, they do not need to show they know English.

Only when illegal immigrants would be applying for their “legal permanent resident” status, or green card, would they be required to show they know English, or show that they are currently enrolled in a course “to achieve an understanding of English and knowledge and understanding” of civics. That requirement, too, is not new to this law, as Norquist and his immigration allies implied in the polling question. It is part of a requirement in existing law, section 312 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Further down the line in that same second sentence, the pollsters describe the plan as requiring illegal immigrants to “pay taxes” before eventually being granted citizenship. Before this poll was even distributed, though, Mickey Kaus over at The Daily Caller thoroughly debunked that Gang of Eight myth describing it as a “fraud.” 

Kaus noted that “it looks as if illegal immigrants will only have to pay back taxes if the IRS has already moved to assess them for it–which would be why the text of the bill (pages 68-69) says they only have to pay  ‘Federal income taxes assessed in accordance with section 6203 of the Internal Revenue Code,’ which is the section on assessments. What about income taxes that weren’t paid or assessed because illegal immigrants were working off the books, or using fraudulent Social Security numbers? No worries. The Gang of 8 will not collect them.”

As for the claim from the pollsters that the bill “makes E-Verify mandatory for all employers,” that is not true either. The bill, according to a Senate office of a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, would repeal the current E-Verify system the day it was signed into law if it ever passed Congress, and the DHS secretary would have a year from that date to promulgate regulations for the new system. 

That means the country could be without any E-Verify system for at least a year–potentially longer. Much like the “border security triggers” in the bill, the E-Verify system it would create does not force the Secretary to act and if the Secretary does not act on this front, effectively eliminating E-Verify altogether, the legalization process for illegal immigrants under the Schumer-Rubio bill would not end.

In addition, the bill only requires “employers” to use E-Verify, and defines employers as any person or entity that “hires, employs, recruits, or refers for a fee an individual for employment” so long as such employment is not “casual, sporadic, irregular, or intermittent.” The Secretary of DHS is able to define, according to the Schumer-Rubio bill, what “casual, sporadic, irregular, or intermittent” means. So, technically temporary day laborers who are illegal immigrants could still work without ever being checked by E-Verify.

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