The Corner

Elites vs. Public on Immigration

Rasmussen’s latest on immigration has some interesting findings:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 63% of Likely U.S. Voters think gaining control of the border is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living here when it comes to immigration reform. Only 27% put legalizing the status of these illegal immigrants first. Ten percent (10%) are not sure.

This should help the pro-amnesty folks understand why polls show lots of people are open to “earned legalization” for illegal aliens who have jobs, love America, and call their mothers every Sunday — but that approach never makes any legislative progress. The public is in favor of “enforcement first” — stop illegal immigration, then tie up the loose ends by amnestying some of the more benign, long-term illegal aliens. Tying up the loose ends first just guarantees that the enforcement will never happen.

The elite-public gap comes through clearly as well: “71% of those in the Mainstream think the priority for immigration reform should be gaining control of the border, while 52% of Political Class voters believe legalizing the status of illegal immigrants already in the country is more important.” Earlier research has found a similarly large gap between the public and elites on immigration.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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