Back in the day of the Model T, Henry Ford famously told consumers, “You can have any color you want, as long as it’s black.” Ford could get away with selling cars in only one color because there really weren’t a whole lot of options for consumers who wanted affordably priced automobiles.
A new Associated Press/Roper poll on immigration apparently drew its inspiration from Mr. Ford. The poll, which is gaining widespread attention, appears to indicate that the American public favors amnesty for illegal aliens. However, like your grandfather’s options for the Model T, the AP/Roper poll comes in only one color. As everyone knows, the responses you get in polls very often depend on what questions you ask and, in this case, what questions you don’t ask.
The question posed to respondents reads, “Do you favor or oppose providing a legal way for illegal immigrants already in the United States to become U.S. citizens?” A majority, 62 percent, answered yes. What this poll really indicates is that Americans are hungry for something to be done to fix our broken immigration system, and amnesty was the only item on the menu.
Of course our options for addressing illegal immigration are much more varied than what was offered by the AP/Roper poll. Unfortunately, neither this poll, nor other recent polls allow people to choose among the other options, including inducing “voluntary compliance” with our immigration laws by systematically removing all the benefits and incentives to remain in the United States illegally.