A Fox News poll this week illuminates the core issue in the current immigration debate. On the one hand, 66 percent of registered voters chose the following option over sending all illegals back or enrolling them in a temporary worker program:
Allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country and eventually qualify for U.S. citizenship, but only if they meet certain requirements like paying back taxes, learning English, and passing a background check.
But what the Chuck Schumer Republicans don’t point out is results like this one from the same poll: When asked “Do you favor or oppose requiring completion of new border security measures first — before making other changes to immigration policies?”, 73 percent want security first, with 20 percent opposed. Not only is this share larger than the majority willing to accept amnesty, it’s been growing over the course of the debate in Congress. And this support for security first is overwhelming among all demographic categories: Democrat or Republican, men and women, young and old, white and non-white, rich or poor, college or no college.
The Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, and their Republican fellow-travelers, made clear over the past couple of weeks that they stand with the 20 percent of the public that wants amnesty first and against the 73 percent who want security first. They made this point repeatedly, voting down amendment after amendment that would have required security first, like one that would have required DHS certification of effective control of the border for six months before processing amnesty applications (Grassley 4), or the use of biometric entry-exit tracking of foreign visitors at all ports of entry before amnesty (Sessions 4), or a vote by the House that the goals set out in the border and fencing plans have been achieved before granting amnesty (Lee 4).