Poll: 71% support comprehensive immigration reform

Nothing makes a diehard eeyore like me happier than a depressing poll, but even I’ve got to call BS on this one. C’mon, Politico.


That 71 percent includes 90 percent of Latinos, 78 percent of Democrats, and 64 percent of Republicans — and frankly, I’m surprised the totals for each aren’t higher. Except to the small minority of the population that follows immigration news closely, the phrase “comprehensive immigration reform” is almost totally meaningless. News junkies recognize it as a term of art to describe a compromise on border security and legalization; to everyone else, which is pretty much everyone, I suspect all it means is “reform of America’s immigration laws,” which can mean virtually anything. It’s not unlike the phrase “fiscal responsibility.” If you asked Ted Cruz and Elizabeth Warren whether they support fiscal responsibility, they’d both tell you yes, emphatically. For Cruz, that means cutting spending to balance the budget; for Warren, it means higher taxes on the wealthy and greater redistribution to grow the middle class. The term is empty unless you specify a definition — which, in the case of “comprehensive immigration reform,” pollsters rarely do. I think the most that can be gleaned from wording this vague is that the public is broadly open to some form of legalization; it may be that voters have now heard enough about this subject on the news plus the fact that Republicans are holding out on it that they’ve deduced that “comprehensive” reform involves legalizing illegals in some way, and they’re okay with that. But then, we already knew that. More thorough polls than this one have also showed majority support for letting illegals stay with some new status. Safe to say that some sizable minority of Republicans agrees with the vast majority of Democrats that it’s time to bring illegals “out of the shadows.” And somehow, all of those Republicans ended up in Congress.

Politico goes on to note, by the way, that 73 percent of respondents say that immigration reform is “important” to how they’ll vote in November, including 85 percent of Latinos. Fair enough, but when you ask voters to prioritize which issues matter most to them, this happens:


Then again, just because amnesty isn’t the most important issue to anyone doesn’t mean it’s not “important.” The trick for Boehner and company is figuring out who it’s more important to, the voters they’re trying to woo or the voters they’re trying to keep. My strong hunch is that an amnesty bill will push this issue much higher up the list of conservative voters’ priorities in November than it will Latinos’. But I suppose that depends on how easily suckered righties will be by gimmicks like this:

“Nobody trusts the president, and that’s just the reality,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), a Republican who has written a bill that beefs up border security and offers a path to legal status for illegal immigrants. “Can the president re-establish his credibility in the next two months with the House, with the American people or with our allies? No. I think he can hopefully not make it worse.”…

Diaz-Balart’s solution to the dilemma is to write legislation that would “hold the administration accountable” so it cannot ignore requirements to enforce border security. He would not give specifics, but his provisions would probably include a trigger based on a proposal agreed to last year that would revoke legal status for immigrants after five years if an employer E-Verify program were not in place.

You buy that, don’t you? The pro-amnesty GOP leadership, which has the Chamber of Commerce screaming in one ear and immigration activists screaming in the other, is going to pass a bill legalizing illegals — and then revoke that legalization right before the 2020 election, after millions more young Latinos have turned 18 and are preparing to vote for the first time, because E-Verify hasn’t been implemented yet. There’s not the faintest chance of that happening, of course; once legalization is here, it’s here to stay. But maybe there are enough Republicans out there who want this issue off the table that they’ll swallow that, or pretend to swallow it, in the interest of moving this along. Or, maybe Obama simply won’t be able to resist panders like this to his own base that will hopelessly destroy Boehner’s chances of building enough support in the House to pass something. We’re in a race now: Can Obama, deliberately or not, blow up reform before the House leadership completely caves on it?