Survey Says… Nothing


The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which promotes what it calls a "low-immigration vision," has published the results of a new poll. The Center claims the survey, conducted by Zogby for CIS, proves Americans prefer the draconian round-'em-up-and-send-'em-back House immigration bill to the Senate bill 2-to-1. I'm not so sure.

The survey gave brief descriptions of the bills, and the House description excludes that bill's most contentious provisions. The House bill is described as "trying to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the country by enforcing immigration laws, and making illegal immigrants go home over time, with no increase in legal immigration." The Senate version is described as "granting eventual citizenship to illegal immigrants, coupled with a doubling of legal immigration from 1 million to 2 million a year and increased enforcement of immigration laws."

Both bills are "trying to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the country." Why is that language only included in the description of the House bill? The House bill is described as "enforcing immigration laws," as it if it were simply an effort to enforce existing provisions rather than a drastic change in the severity of the offense. As it's written, the bill would make it a felony to "assist" an illegal immigrant or to be one. (It's currently a misdemeanor to cross the border illegally and a civil violation to overstay a visa.)

Tellingly, the poll never asks whether Americans think being or helping an illegal immigrant should be a felony. Perhaps that's because a majority do not.