How Polls on Immigration Lie

No doubt you have heard or read the big news! After decades of opposing amnesty for illegal aliens, Americans (claim the polls) have done an about-face and support allowing most of them to stay and putting them on a pathway to citizenship.

That is now the standard line included in most mainstream media reports: Americans overwhelmingly support amnesty and it is time for “obstructionists” in Congress to get out of the way and allow the people’s will to be done.


The most recent such poll was conducted by the Washington Post between July 16 and 19. The poll asks respondents:

Do you think undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States should or should not be allowed to live and work here legally if they pay a fine and meet other requirements? (if should be allowed) Do you think undocumented immigrants who meet the requirements should be able to apply for U.S. citizenship, or be able to apply for permanent residency, but not U.S. citizenship? 

Do you notice anything unusual about the poll? Like the absence of any other alternatives? How about the lack of specifics, like what those “other requirements” might be?

Another interesting aspect of this Washington Post poll is that in spite of there being only one policy option on the menu, 40 percent turned it down. It kind of makes you wonder what kind of results the Post might have gotten if they had presented some viable alternatives to mass amnesty.

Of course, an honest reading of public opinion about amnesty was probably the last thing the Post had in mind when they conducted this poll.

avatar About Ira Mehlman

Ira joined FAIR in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar Motivated says:

    I’d like to see the MSM poll citizens with something close to the following (I think we know what alternative would win):

    What is your preferred, primary way of dealing with the millions of people in the country unlawfully:

    1) enforce the immigration laws on the books and decrease the population of illegal immigrants over time


    2) allow illegal immigrants to stay if they meet certain criteria such as paying a fine and having a background check

  2. avatar Steven says:

    A poll could ask people if they want the laws of our country enforced or not enforced. What would the result be?

    • I’d Word an Easy Poll Question

      Do you want more immigration overpopulation draining tax revenues in your neighborhood for schools, hospitals and welfare?

      90% would say Hades No!

  3. avatar Unicorn73 says:

    I would not pay to much attention to this poll since Washington, D.C. Is a sanctuary city next to a sanctuary state with a large number of unlawfully present in the DC suburbs of Maryland.

    • avatar Joany says:

      I don’t support amnesty under any conditions. Illegal is illegal. Deport them. Stop giving them free care, food and housing. I have to work. They should go back to their countries and apply for legal immigration. They should also have to have someone from this country willing to sponsor them soon they will not be getting aide.

  4. avatar Cheryl says:

    NO. The simple, straight answer is NO. Should NOT to the first part and NO to the second part.

  5. avatar Pam says:

    The poll was put together by the Liberals I bet. They will try every dirty political trick they can to get what they want. I will NEVER vote Democrat again. They are the most evil, deceptive people on Earth.

  6. avatar Leland says:

    There are polls and then there are actual election results. In 2010 a Republican named Susana Martinez was elected governor of New Mexico, the first Hispanic woman governor in the country. She tried in her first term to pass legislation barring illegals from licenses. She was reelected in 2014 still supporting the same issue. In 2014 the voters in the very blue state of Oregon passed a ballot initiative by a 2 to 1 margin that prevented the state from giving licenses to illegals.

    It was the Oregon legislature that passed a bill giving licenses to illegals and a petition by voters got the question put on the ballot. Something other states with a petition process should consider for next year, because you can’t trust most of these lying politicians to carry out a single promise they make. Like the GOP was going to block amnesty.

    Yesterday Hillary was talking about the case of Sandra Bland, the woman who hung herself in jail and she cast it as “another young black life lost”. The woman already had attempted suicide before and she was arrested because she refused to follow a cop’s orders. Cops don’t have all day to wait for you to get over your temper tantrums. Obviously Hillary would just be an extension of the same attitude of this present administration, which is, no one is ever wrong but law enforcement. Just more stirring the racial pot.

    • avatar Pam says:

      Yes and I am very proud to say I was a part of that. WE CAN PREVAIL.It just takes fortitude and standing up to the Liberals.

      • avatar Leland says:

        I used to consider myself a liberal years ago, when it meant standing up for worker’s rights and the environment. Now, those things are being sacrificed because the effects of millions of foreign citizens, legal and illegal, are eroding wages for the middle and working classes and destroying our environment by pushing our population growth by 25 to 30 million per decade. Look at California. A state that is virtually out of water [they have used up most all of their groundwater supplies so that won't be available from now on] and yet they continue to insist that more immigration is a good thing. They’re in denial.

        But then, who ever thought that simply displaying the American flag could get you punished, as upheld by the courts. It’s what happened when students at a California high school wore American flag clothing at a Cinco de Mayo day in response to other students parading a Mexican flag the year before. The excuse from the school board was that they were preventing possible trouble. But the only trouble came when Latino students attacked the Americans. So we have to shut up because some thugs from a country they decided to flee from don’t like the flag and threaten violence? Imagine students in Mexico being told that couldn’t wear the Mexican flag. Of course, liberals would say that’s their culture. Yeah, and ours doesn’t count apparently. It’s disposable.