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A Majority Wants Less Legal Immigration


in the new Fox News poll. Only 28 percent of the public wants more legal immigration, as the Gang of Eight bill provides. It’s a pretty remarkable stat considering how marginalized the view that legal immigration should be reduced has been in American politics. It’s a sufficiently marginalized position that pollsters rarely ask the question. With the assistance of my AEI colleague Karlyn Bowman I found a 2012 poll that offered respondents the choice of leaving legal-immigration levels the same. It found a 42 percent plurality for that position, 37 percent wanting less legal immigration, and only 18 percent wanting more.

The Fox News poll finds 78 percent of the public backing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who meet certain conditions. Another reason, perhaps, to think that the bill’s treatment of illegal immigration is not its biggest vulnerability.