Trump’s Immigration Policies Match Public Opinion, Polls Show

Reuters/Rick Wilking

President Donald Trump’s two-track immigration policy is a close match for Americans’ dual-track American-jobs-first view of immigration, according to polls and immigration experts.

“He exemplifies us because he wants two different things,” said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “He feels sorry for the DACA [young illegals], and he wants tougher border control, so he is the everyman in this respect,” he added. 

For example, an August poll by America First Policies showed that 71 percent of Americans want to ensure “that companies offer open jobs to Americans before foreign workers,” and 59 percent backed a proposal to trim chain migration. But a large chunk of Americans also support pro-migrant policies — 38 percent of respondents opposed capping the inflow of refugees at 50,000 per year, 37 percent opposed the current rule that immigrants must know English, 44 percent strongly opposed the border wall, and 68 percent said they supported the vague proposal of “providing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.”

Trump’s two-sided policy is a much better mirror of the public’s two-track opinion than the Democrats’ increasingly open favoritism towards legal immigrants and illegal migrants — whom they call ‘dreamers’ — regardless of the cost to Americans. “Our Dreamers, they make America dream again,” House minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi proclaimed during a CNN town hall in October. “They’re so lovely and we, frankly, owe a debt to your parents for bringing you here to be such a brilliant part of our future.”

Trump says he will accept the legalization of some illegals, but only if the Democrats back his pro-American immigration principles which would safeguard Americans’ salaries by cutting the annual number of immigrant arrivals. In the expected December budget battles, Trump’s demand for fairness to Americans has a huge polling advantage over the Democrats’ hugeexpensive “Dream Act’ no-strings amnesty which strongly favors migrants over Americans.

The polls also suggest that Trump’s approach can win a fundamental fight against the establishment to reduce immigration numbers, not just a tactical budget-battle against the no-strings amnesty sought by Democrat and business. 

The public’s response to immigration “really comes down to the economic impact versus the security impact of immigration … that is where you see a big divide,” said Adam Geller, a pollster for Trump’s election campaign who is now one of the pollsters for the pro-Trump non-profit, America First Policies.

The 2016 polling showed that people want immigration slowed “so that the neighbor won’t lose a job,” he said. “Most Americans have no problem with immigration, and to the extent they do have a problem, it is over illegal immigration or unsecured borders where dangerous criminals can cross the border and committed a crime,” he said.

Throughout 2016, those economic and crime pressures were amped up by President Barack Obama’s pro-migration policies, which gradually pushed Americans to choose between concern for migrants and worries about themselves and their neighbors. In November, the voters decisively favored their neighbors over the media-praised flood of Central American youths, Syrian refugees, Mexican seasonal workers, Indian H-1B visa-workers, and especially over the migrants illegally crossing the border. 

But the August poll of 1,201 people also shows shifting and sliding opinions as Americans try to balance their respect for migrants with their worries about uncontrolled immigration, multiple amnesties, crimes, and terrorism.

For example, the poll shows that 55 percent of respondents approve of a proposal to “deport” most illegal immigrants, and strongly favored a crackdown on illegal immigration — yet 68 percent of respondents also agreed that government should provide “a pathway to citizenship” for illegal immigrants.

Similarly, the poll showed that only 8 percent of Americans support the current annual inflow of 1 million legal immigrants, and 45 percent say they want fewer than 200,000 immigrants each year. Another question showed that only 10 percent of people were optimistic about current immigration levels when they were asked:

Projections show that current immigration levels will add roughly 80 million people to the U.S. population over the next 50 years. What impact do you think this will have on the environment and quality of life?

Yet a different question in the poll showed that 49 percent say the current annual level of 1 million immigrants — which is rarely described by the establishment media — is “about the right amount.”

When asked about work, 55 percent said illegal immigrants unfairly compete for jobs with lower skilled Americans at the bottom of the job market. Yet another question showed that only 45 percent of respondents say “we should reduce the number of foreign workers so that we can recruit and pay higher wages to American workers.” Still, far fewer — only 31 percent of respondents — agreed that with the business-first view that “we need to increase the amount of foreign workers in the country in order to provide labor and reduce costs for American farms and businesses.” A large slice — 23 percent — declined to give their opinion.

The employee vs. employer gap was far wider — 68 percent opposed, 21 percent for — when the voters were asked about importing more white-collar H-1B visa-workers:

H-1B visas are used by employers to hire foreign workers in jobs in Science and Technology fields, often at lower pay than Americans. Would you support or oppose increasing the amount companies must pay H-1B workers to encourage them to employ more American workers?

The cross-tabs show that 36 percent of Americans strongly supported the proposal to raise pay for H-1Bs to encourage more hiring Americans, while only 8 percent strongly opposed the proposal. That’s a bad result for a wide range of insurance firms, banks, Silicon Valley investors, universities, accounting partnerships and hospitals which use the H-1B program to keep a U.S.-based workforce of at least 500,000 cheap white-collar H-1B workers.

Americans’ competing desires also allow the apparent numbers to shift when politicians provide some reassurance — or concerns — to voters. For example, in May 2016 as Obama was pushing his easy-migration policies, 57 percent of 1,000 likely voters told Rasmussen Research that it is better for the United States oo tightly control who comes into the country.” But in June 2017, five months after Trump’s inauguration, support for the tight-control option dipped to 50 percent as the “not sure option’ jumped from 7 percent in 2016 to 12 percent in 2017.

Most of that shift was among GOP voters. In the May poll, 52 percent of Democrats said it was better “to open our border who anyone who wants to come here as long as they are not a terrorist or a criminal,” while 81 percent of Republicans backed the tight-border policy. Those numbers shifted to 54 percent and 75 percent in the June poll.

But the room for any shift is limited because politicians can energize the large part of the Democratic bloc which favors migrants, and the large part of the GOP coalition which favors Americans.

In the 2016 race, for example, Trump’s campaign was managers by Kellyanne Conway, a pollster who had earlier asked people to weigh the fairness of two good things – a welcome for migrants or jobs for Americans. Here’s the key result from an August 2014 survey where Conway explored Americans’ views about immigration, jobs, and fairness: “Overall, 77 percent of Conway’s likely-voter respondents said Americans should be favored [in job hiring decisions] over immigrants. That opinion was shared by 88 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of independents and 78 percent of moderates … 92 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of independents, 63 percent of Hispanics and 53 percent of liberals say the government has not done enough enforcement.”

The same fairness technique is being used by an immigration reform group, NumbersUSA, to highlight public support for the merit-immigration RAISE Act, which is supported by Trump. The fairness polling data from several critical states matched the data from Michigan, which showed 61 percent of people “strongly” support “setting up rules to ensure that businesses give first preference for jobs to American workers and legal immigrants before asking 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.”

In contrast, the business-pushed “nation of immigrants” polls reliably push respondents to declare high support for illegal immigrants. Most of these polls hide the public’s worry about jobs because they are skewed to maximize apparent public support for immigration, for example, by asking testing voters to see what they think of ‘dreamers,’ Geller said, adding;

I happen to loath the word ‘dreamer.’ It is a romatic word and a romantic notion. By simply testing ‘dreamers’ vs. ‘illegal immigration’ [in polls] you get very different results. When you buy into the Democrats’ frame, you get different results.

For example,, a group formed by Silicon Valley investors, tweeted:

Good polls are easily available, but they are often unseen by voters because they ignored by company-funded pollsters, by party managers, and by reporters.

Also, the establishment media provides little data about migration numbers and costs, allowing voters to hold contradictory attitudes. For example, 75 percent of respondents in the August poll say immigrants must be able to support themselves financially — yet data shows that immigrants use far more welfare aid than Americans, so imposing huge costs on state and local taxpayers.

Polls are also distorted because many Americans are unwilling to reveal their true opinions. For example, a survey of 1,000 adults in mid-August by Rasmussen Reports showed that 80 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.” Two careful academic surveys showed that 60 percent of whites quietly oppose all immigration.

Also, responses vary from region to region. For example, the strongest support for immigration is found on the West coast, home to many migrants and to Americans who support the migrants. The crosstabs in the August poll show that attitudes are less welcoming in many of the midwest states where the 2018 Senate elections will be decided. In the 2016 election, Brett Loyd, the president of The Polling Company, polled voters intensively to see how voters viewed the immigration issue. “The Midwest was always about jobs, about the economy,” he said. “It was not about the cultural issues that were being cited in New York, DC and Hollywood.”

But many voters have little trust that government will follow through in any amnesty-for-safeguards deal. For example, a September 2017 poll by Rasmussen showed that only 15 percent of respondents were very confident that ” the federal government would actually secure the border and prevent illegal immigration” if  “a law was passed to secure the border, prevent future illegal immigration and allow those who entered the country illegally to stay.” The America First poll shows that 55 percent of respondents agreed that “we should first secure our borders before passing any immigration reforms” while 38 percent disagreed.

Four million Americans turn 18 each year and begin looking for good jobs in the free market.

But the federal government inflates the supply of new labor by annually accepting 1 million new legal immigrants, by providing almost 2 million work-permits to foreigners, by providing work-visas to roughly 500,000 temporary workers and doing little to block the employment of roughly 8 million illegal immigrants.

The Washington-imposed economic policy of mass-immigration floods the market with foreign laborspikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate priceswidens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions.

The cheap-labor policy has also reduced investment and job creation in many interior states because the coastal cities have a surplus of imported labor. For example, almost 27 percent of zip codes in Missouri had fewer jobs or businesses in 2015 than in 2000, according to a new report by the Economic Innovation Group. In Kansas, almost 29 percent of zip codes had fewer jobs and businesses in 2015 compared to 2000, which was a two-decade period of massive cheap-labor immigration.

Americans tell pollsters that they strongly oppose amnesties and cheap-labor immigration, even as most Americans also want to favor legal immigrants, and many sympathize with illegals.

Because of the successful cheap-labor strategy, wages for men have remained flat since 1973, and a growing percentage of the nation’s annual income is shifting to investors and away from employees.




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