Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Favor Limited Immigration

iStock_000042486776_LargeA new poll, to be released later this month in its entirety, finds 61 percent of Americans surveyed believe “continued immigration [both legal and illegal] into the country jeopardizes the United States.”   The poll, commissioned by A.T. Kearney consulting firm, was conducted between October and November 2015 and included 2,590 respondents.

A majority of all the groups surveyed found immigration to be hurtful.  Sixty-five percent of baby boomers agreed, while 55 percent of millennials did.  Baby boomers were likely driven by their concerns that immigrants could take health care, Social Security and other services away.  Millennials, on the other hand, were likely cognizant of immigration’s impact on their job prospects in terms of lower wages and fewer opportunities.

The bottom line is that immigration is becoming more important to Americans.  As recently as 2002, a Harris poll found that only 1 percent of Americans mentioned immigration as one of the top two most important issues for the government to address.  Last year, 19 percent did.

Super Tuesday Alert

VotingThe race to the White House hits a pivotal point on Tuesday, March 1. Known as “Super Tuesday” because a handful of states hold primaries on the same day, it tends to be a significant point in the presidential nomination process because more delegates are up for grabs on this one day than any other date on the primary calendar. Although FAIR does not endorse candidates, we believe that the issue of immigration is of the upmost importance as Republicans and Democrats choose their nominees for the 2016 presidential election. To help you be informed before you vote, FAIR provides the following summary of each of the candidates’ immigration positions. For more information, please visit FAIR’s 2016 resource page.

Democratic Presidential Candidates

  • Hillary Clinton: Clinton promises to go even “further” than President Obama in granting executive amnesty outside the law until Congress passes legislation providing “full and equal citizenship” to illegal aliens. Regarding enforcement, Clinton will only deport illegal aliens “who pose a violent threat to public safety.” By comparison, in 2003 as a U.S. Senator, Clinton described herself as “adamantly against illegal immigrants.”
  • Bernie Sanders: Sanders vows to “take extensive executive action” to shield even more illegal aliens from deportation than President Obama did until Congress passes a “roadmap to citizenship.” Sanders’s immigration plan calls for “modernizing” border security while ending State and local cooperation for interior enforcement. Sanders voted for the Gang of Eight mass amnesty guest worker bill in 2013 but played a key role in stopping amnesty legislation in 2006 and 2007.

Republican Presidential Candidates

  • Ben Carson: Carson’s immigration plan grants illegal aliens with a “pristine record” the “opportunity to become guest workers” and possibly citizens “later on down the road.” Additionally, Carson claims his administration can seal the border within the first year but he opposes deporting the entire illegal alien population currently residing unlawfully in the country.
  • Ted Cruz: Cruz opposes amnesty and wants to “stop illegal immigration.” His immigration plan calls for securing the border and strengthening and enforcing existing immigration laws. Although Cruz has previously supported increasing legal immigration, he now supports reforming the system to “prioritize the interests and well-being of Americans.”
  • John Kasich: Kasich supports giving illegal aliens a “path to legalization” and said a top priority in his administration will be “expand[ing] guest workers.” Kasich calls deporting illegal aliens “a silly argument” but has expressed vague support for securing the border.
  • Marco Rubio: Rubio led the 2013 Gang of Eight bill that granted mass amnesty, significantly increased legal immigration, and contained only promises of future enforcement. Rubio now opposes that 1,200 page bill but his immigration plan supports passing its provisions “in a sequential and piecemeal way.”
  • Donald Trump: Trump’s immigration plan opposes amnesty and calls for eliminating the incentives that encourage illegal immigration. His plan centers on three “core principles” of immigration reform: control the border; enforce immigration laws; and prioritize American workers. However, Trump has previously said that after deporting illegal aliens he would allow the “really good people” to return.

In Iowa, PAC Money Talks Very Softly While Sensible Immigration Speaks LOUDLY

iowa-43756_960_720Iowa is just one state, and Iowa does not necessary represent the whole nation. But Iowa also is not Mars. The views and the mood of Iowa voters on a lot of issues, including immigration, are not sui generis.

By now, everyone knows that Ted Cruz and Donald Trump walked away with 52 percent of the votes in Monday’s caucuses. And, of course, Cruz and Trump both made protection of the public interest in immigration policy a central theme of their campaigns. These views seem to have spoken much louder to voters in Iowa than the millions of PAC dollars supporting candidates who represent the immigration views of corporate America.

Without question, the champion of Super PAC spending was Jeb Bush, who has long supported amnesty for illegal aliens (though he does not use that word). PACs supporting his candidacy spent $14 million in Iowa. The return on investment: $2,673 spent for each of the 5,238 Iowa Republican voters who caucused for Bush.

Coming in second in PAC spending was Marco Rubio. PACs backing the Florida senator poured $8.8 million in support of his candidacy. Rubio finished a respectable third with 43,165 votes, or about 23 percent. Rubio was both a sponsor and the front man for the 2013 Gang of Eight amnesty bill. While Rubio has tried to distance himself from that bill, his positions on immigration and amnesty remained murky right up to caucus night. At $8.8 million in Super PAC spending, each Rubio vote came with a $203 price tag (a bargain compared to his fellow Floridian).

The two candidates who were most vocal in opposing amnesty, supporting immigration enforcement, and even reducing overall immigration were Cruz and Trump.

Cruz, the Iowa winner, was the beneficiary of $4 million in Super PAC spending. (Super PACs supporting other candidates spent $2.1 million opposing him.) His first place haul of 51,666 votes, 28 percent, works out to $77 per vote — $38 per vote if the Super PAC money spent against him is subtracted.

Trump, whose views on immigration have dominated the campaign news, finished in second place with 45,427 votes, or 24 percent. But, in terms of Super Pac-dollar-per-vote, he blew everyone else out of the water (or, perhaps more appropriately, the corn field). Super PACs supporting him spent a paltry $110,000 in Iowa, or about $2.42 per voter who caucused for him. He was also the biggest target for opposition Super PAC spending. Super PACs trying to defeat him spent $3.2 million in Iowa. Subtract the $110,000 spent supporting him and Trump’s cost-per-vote netted out at minus $68.24!

Is there a message here? We’ll find out as the circus moves on to New Hampshire and then heads south. In the meantime, the evidence suggests that the corporate backed Super PACs (on both the Republican and Democratic sides) are going to have a much harder time buying nominees in 2016.

Amid Non-Enforcement Directives, Morale Sinks Even Lower at DHS

DHS_W_atAccording to results of the 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was once again ranked by its employees as the worst place to work in the federal government.

The 240,000 employee department, which includes United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), received a 47 percent score on the global satisfaction index and a 53 percent score on the employee engagement index. The global satisfaction index measures whether employees are satisfied with their job, pay, and organization, as well as whether they would recommend their department as a good place to work. The employee engagement index assesses critical conditions conducive for employee engagement, such as effective leadership. DHS’s scores this year were the worst in the federal government and continue the department’s disappointing downward trend for the fifth consecutive year. As a reference, DHS received global satisfaction and employee engagement scores of 62 percent and 61 percent, respectively, in 2010.

Employee morale has long been an issue at DHS, beginning in the Bush administration and steadily worsening during the Obama administration. Current DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson highlighted low morale as one of his top two priorities during his 2013 confirmation hearings and has commissioned a seemingly endless number of studies focusing on fixing the problem. According to the Washington Post, Johnson also launched a “frenzy of morale-boosting efforts including an employee steering committee dedicated to fairness in hiring and promotions, enhanced employee training programs, and Johnson’s department-wide ‘Unity of Effort’ initiative, designed to tackle the department’s management challenges.”

It is unsurprising that morale has continued to drop despite these efforts, as DHS administrators have willfully ignored one of the largest causes of the problem. There are five core missions at DHS, two of which are “secure and manage our borders” and “enforce and administer our immigration laws.”  Yet through President Obama’s deferred action amnesty initiatives and countless internal directives, the border is less secure and immigration agents can be fired for attempting to enforce federal immigration law.

Simply put, DHS employees cannot be expected to have high morale while facing a constant uphill battle to effectively enforce and uphold the law. The Obama administration, in conjunction with DHS administrators, has created a law enforcement nightmare in which political agendas take precedent over public safety.

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.

2006_House_Polls

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.