Media outlets are touting polls which supposedly show public support for the DACA amnesty — but careful polls show the public overwhelmingly prefers immigration policies which help their fellow Americans find good jobs.
The pro-DACA polls ask Americans “‘Do you want to be nice to people?’ and most Americans do want to be nice to people,” said Roy Beck, founder of NumbersUSA, an immigration reform group, whose polls ask Americans to rank their often-contradictory views. He said:
We basically ask people to establish priorities. All public policy is about priorities. You can give people a list of 100 good things to do but you’ve got to have a priority. Our polls ask ‘Which is more important: Make sure that jobless Americans get the next jobs or continue to bring in high level of immigrants?
These priority polls show roughly seven-to-one public support for Donald Trump’s argument that immigration reforms should aid American employees first, before aiding companies or foreign migrants.
“What people generally want is some kind of assurance that we’re not going to end up with another 10 million illegal aliens down the road — that’s why there is a lot of support for amnestying illegal immigrants as long as it is the last amnesty,” said Mark Krikorian, the director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
If Trump ties his expected rollback of DACA to a legislative deal which gains congressional approval for enforcement and reform in exchange for a future amnesty, he will have “a politically attractive package that is also good policy,” said Krikorian. Already, Trump’s merit immigration proposal is getting good reviews from the public.
However, the pro-immigration, pro-business, pro-DACA “nation of immigrants” polls dominate the media coverage of the immigration debate.
For example, an NBC poll described the 800,000 illegal aliens in DACA as “children” — even though their average age is roughly 25. A Politico poll described the DACA illegals as sympathetic and admirable “dreamers.” Neither poll provided readers with any numbers about wages, population numbers or unemployment, nor did they remind respondents that the illegals were getting work permits to compete for jobs against Americans.
The NBC poll of 10,129 adults was conducted August 24 to August 29. It achieved 64 percent support for DACA when it asked: “Do you support or oppose the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) policy, which protects those who were brought in the United States as undocumented children from being deported?” Only 30 percent said they oppose the DACA policy.
The skewed result as touted by the pro-immigration group, America’s Voice.
In April, Politico and Morning Consult ran a push-poll on the topic, asking:
As you may know, ”Dreamers” are young people who were brought to the United States illegally when they were children, often with their parents. Which of the following do you think is the best way to handle Dreamers?
Politico’s poll also achieved high numbers, but not as high as the NBC poll. Fifty-six percent agreed the “dreamers … should be allowed to stay and become citizens if they meet certain requirements.” Twenty-two percent agreed “They should be allowed to stay and become legal residents, but NOT citizens, if they meet certain requirements” And 14 percent agreed; “They should be removed or deported from the United States.”
That “nation of immigrants” poll was touted by Todd Schulte, the president of Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us immigration-expansion advocacy group.
Politico’s push-poll was also touted by Niall Stanage, the White House columnist for TheHill.com, who wrote:
President Trump would enthuse his base — but also risk alienating the broader electorate — if he ends an Obama-era program that provides protection to illegal immigrants brought to the United States as minors … A Morning Consult/POLITICO poll from late April indicated that 78 percent of registered voters believed DACA recipients should be allowed to stay in the United States, either as citizens or as legal residents.
The public gives very different answers when they are invited to set priorities, however.
For example, immigration reform group NumbersUSA recently conducted ten state polls about immigration policy. In Michigan, the group’s poll showed that 61 percent of people “strongly” support “setting up rules to ensure that businesses give first preference for jobs to American workers and legal immigrants already in this country before businesses can ask for new immigrant workers.” Only 10 percent of respondents “somewhat” or “strongly” opposed that proposed rule.
The Michigan poll also showed that 74 percent of people say “business should be required to try harder to recruit and train from groups with the highest unemployment,” while only 11 percent said, “government should continue to bring in new immigrants to compete for jobs.”
Those numbers came from a panel of 1,000 likely 2018 voters, of whom 48 percent voted for Hillary Clinton, and 59 percent agreed that “most immigrants [they] have met personally [are] hard-working people who would make good neighbors.”
The NumbersUSA group released polling data from Florida, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Those states were won by Trump in 2016 and will get to vote for or against incumbent Democratic Senators next November.
These poll numbers match the views found in 2014 by pollster Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s 2016 campaign aide and pollster. In 2014, for example, Conway told this reporter that voters want immigration policies which are fair to Americans employees and also decent to immigrants. “To win, a strong message of fairness (to everyone, not just the illegal immigrants) and common sense is compelling,” she said in a message. That is the combination theme which Trump used to win the presidency in 2016.
These views tend to stay hidden until there is a crisis. In 2014, for example, President Barack Obama’s poll ratings crashed as his pro-immigration polls created a flood of younger migrants at the Texas border. A July 2014 poll by Fox News showed his immigration policies were opposed by 58 percent of self-described Democratic voters. The poll incorrectly described the migrants as “children,” but 52 percent of independents, 63 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of Hispanics said they should be repatriated “as soon as possible.”
The voters’ real attitudes are often downplayed or hidden by pollsters. A 2013 push-poll funded by Zuckerberg got 90 percent of Hispanics to support “allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain legal status if they pass a background check, pay a fine and taxes owed, have a job, and learn English.” But at the tail end of the poll, it showed that 78 percent of Hispanic respondents also supported “substantially increasing security among US-Mexican border,” and that 77 percent supported rules requiring companies to check their employees’ work eligibility.
Trump’s push for merit immigration reform and higher wages is supported by Hispanics, few of whom want to announce their opposition to cheap-labor immigration into their neighborhoods, said Krikorian. Like other Americans, Latinos “are regular shmoes with a plumbing job who want to support their family … They can understand the need for a strong approach to immigration,” even if only so they don’t face pressure to welcome their spouse’s distant cousin just smuggled over the border, he said. Trump’s opposition to cheap-labor illegal immigration “is doing them a favor,” he added.
The reliability of the business-backed “nation of immigrants” polls are also questionable because many Americans guard their true opinions from pollsters because of feared retaliation.
For example, a survey in mid-August Rasmussen Reports asked 1,000 adults “Do Americans have true freedom of speech today, or do they have to be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble?” Eighty percent of Republicans, 52 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents agreed “They have to be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble.” Even 47 percent of the mostly-liberal set of voters who earn between $100,000 and $200,000 per year agreed that people need to be careful.
Some pollsters go to great efforts to find out what people really prefer on immigration, rather than what they say t0 pollsters. For example, a pair of academic polls from 2005 and 2010 showed that more than half of white Americans prefer all immigration be stopped.
But Democrats and business groups have a huge incentive to skew the polls to show support for extra immigration of cheap workers and extra consumers. The current annual flood of foreign labor spikes profits and Wall Street values by boosting government spending and by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate prices, widens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families.
Sometimes, Democrats quietly admit that their pro-immigration policies are unpopular. DACA was “absolutely a muscular use of enforcement authority,” Cecilia Muñoz, Obama’s top domestic policy adviser, recently told the Washington Post. “We did a lot of careful work and felt we could defend it legally. But there was a lot of soul-searching about whether it could hold up politically,” she added. The Post continued:
Looking back, even some Democrats said Obama’s [DACA] move was a mistake. The issue became fodder in the 2016 presidential race. Trump called deferred action unconstitutional, while Democrat Hillary Clinton promised to go further than Obama had.
GOP politicians agree with that assessment, and only six GOP legislators signed a recent pro-DACA letter to Trump, despite intense backroom pressure by GOP-affiliated business interests who are eager to keep the DACA workers and consumers.
But the skewed “nation of immigrants” polls dominate media coverage. For example, the WashingtonPost claimed Friday that; “Polls show broad public support for the dreamers, and Democrats and immigrant rights groups have promised to wage a fierce political effort against the White House, and Republicans, if Trump chooses to end DACA.”
In contrast, “We asked ‘Do you think that immigrants are hard workers who make good neighbors?’,'” Beck told Breitbart News. “Overwhelmingly, people say yes, but when they’re asked to give a priority … they say ‘No, immigrants are not the priority, Americans are the priority.”