A new New York Times-CBS poll
on immigration reports some surprising
numbers: 51 percent of Americans support Arizona's controversial
immigration law and 57 percent say immigration laws should be determined
by the federal government and not by states. Those positions would seem on
the surface to be mutually exclusive. But that's just the beginning of
this poll's unusual results. Here's what pundits are concluding about
immigration and Americans' unique attitudes.
- Who Supports Arizona? CBS News' Brian Montopoli parses the
numbers. "Two in three Republicans say the law takes the right approach,
along with roughly half of independents. Among Democrats, support for
the law stands at 38 percent. Americans living in the South and Midwest
are more likely than those in the East or West to support the measure."
Would Like Democrats' Reform Plan Combining the poll respondents'
desire for tough enforcement with the 89% who say U.S. immigration law
needs to be "fundamentally" changed or totally "rebuilt," Immigration
Impact's Walter Ewing concludes
that this is good news for congressional Democrats' reform plan.
"Americans are deeply frustrated over unauthorized immigration and the
dysfunctional U.S. immigration system that fuels it. Yet most of the
respondents in both polls don’t believe that a get-tough,
enforcement-only, deport-them-all strategy towards unauthorized
immigrants is the best way to move forward. This should be heartening
news to advocates of comprehensive immigration reform who understand
that smart and targeted immigration enforcement must be coupled with a
thorough revamping of our immigration system in order to be effective."
Approve Racial Profiling? Think Progress chief Faiz Shakir sums up, "Majority of
Americans approve of Arizona law that they believe will result in racial
profiling." The poll "shows that 'the public broadly agrees that the
Arizona law will result in racial profiling, overburden local and state
law enforcement agencies, and decrease illegal immigrants' willingness
to report crimes for fear of deportation.' Nevertheless, a slim majority
of Americans still supports it."
- ...Not Really
Pollster's Brendan Nyhan explains that
the poll question didn't ask respondents whether they supported racial
profiling. The question asked if they believe that Arizona's law will
lead to more people of a certain race or ethnic group to be detained.
Given that most illegal immigrants are from a handful of Central
American states, it's reasonable for anyone to conclude that a law
targeting illegal immigrants will result in more Central Americans being
detained. "The poll question should have asked if people believe that
[a recent provision banning racial profiling] will be upheld in practice
-- that's the question in dispute right now."
- What Happened to Loving Freedom? Liberal blogger Digby loses it. "Real Americans don
little tri-corner hats and carry on about 'freedom' and 'the
constitution' but all they know about either one is what they learned at
Disneyland. They are paranoid about a non-existent invasion of killer
immigrants and are freaking out about a non-existent plan to send gun
owners to Fema camps. They threaten to kill census workers who ask them
how many times they flush their toilets. ... I give up."
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