The Obama administration’s war on Arizona has certainly had an effect on public opinion — only it isn’t the effect Obama intended.  CNN polled over a thousand adults over the weekend, in part to determine their attitudes on immigration.  In what is almost breathtaking political consensus, over eighty percent of respondents oppose boycotts of Arizona over the new law, and 57% outright approve of the law.  Andrew Malcolm notes the political implications:

Despite President Obama’s claim that he sees no congressional appetite to address immigration reform this midterm election year, there’s more convincing evidence this week that Americans want it.

No White House administration wants to admit that it governs by polls. And this one hasn’t. For more than a year now polls have shown the top concerns on American minds are jobs and the economy. As a result, this Obama White House and the whopping Democratic congressional majorities lead by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi invested those many months in rancorous intra-party debate to obtain broad healthcare legislation.

The sampling of adults is telling.  Normally, that produces results more sympathetic with liberal policies than do surveys of registered or likely voters.  This poll shows the American public moving sharply to the right on immigration, however, and rapidly:

  • Those who want the number of illegal immigrants decreased went up three points in seven months to 76%
  • Those who want all illegal immigrants expelled increased four points to 41%
  • The split on whether immigration reform should focus on normalization or enforcement increased from 41/56 in December 2005 to 38/60 today
  • Support for border fence went from a steady 45% over the last 4 years to 54%
  • Support for stiff employer fines rose from 58% in 2006 to 71%
  • Increasing federal agents at the border now supported by 88%, up from 74%

Speaking of federal efforts at the border, this week’s announcement of the dispatch of 1200 National Guard soldiers to the Arizona-Mexico border turns out to be much less than advertised:

US National Guard troops being sent to the Mexican border will be used to stem the flow of guns and drugs across the frontier and not to enforce US immigration laws, the State Department said Wednesday.

The clarification came after the Mexican government urged Washington not to use the additional troops to go after illegal immigrants.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday authorized the deployment of up to 1,200 additional troops to border areas but State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters, “It’s not about immigration.”

So what happens when the Guard soldiers see people crossing the border illegally? Are they being ordered to turn a blind eye to it? The new Arizona law instructs its law-enforcement agencies to check immigration status when detaining people for other purposes because the federal government refuses to enforce border security. This is a great example why the Arizona legislature passed SB1070 in the first place — and why the consensus among Americans is that Washington has abdicated its essential duty to defend the nation’s borders.