The Sacramento Bee recently published a selective sampling of Field Poll results about immigration. The media hype touted findings that indicated Californians’ willingness to expand illegal immigrants’ entitlements and eventually put them on the proverbial “road to citizenship.” While the Bee headline screamed that Californians favor driver’s licenses and “other privileges” for illegal immigrants, a closer review of the story and the raw data here indicate differently. Californians want enforcement more than expanded services and benefits for aliens. [California Voters Want Drivers Licenses, Other Privileges for Illegal Immigrants, by Jim Sanders, Sacramento Bee, February 22, 2013]
Among registered voters , 65 percent favor increasing the numbers of federal border agents, 57 percent back levying stiff penalties on employers who hire aliens, 46 percent want more border fencing (opposed, 47.2; no opinion, 6.5 percent)and 46 percent want aliens detained and deported (opposed, 42.5 percent; no opinion, 11.3 percent).
Even factoring in the inherent bias in the poll’s questions, the inescapable conclusion is that Californians want enforcement much more than liberalized benefits for aliens.
Here, taken from the Field Poll, are examples of misleading questions.
One question: “Do you favor or oppose creating a program that would allow illegal immigrants who have been living in the U.S. for a number of years an opportunity to stay in this country and apply for citizenship if they have a job, learn English and paid back taxes?”
But since to hold a U.S. job, illegal immigrants have to knowingly break federal immigration laws by crossing the border, falsifying their documentation or committing identity theft and since few will learn English or pay back taxes, the Field Poll question is grossly deceptive.
I suggest instead: “Do you favor or oppose giving citizenship to illegal immigrants who knowingly violated federal immigration laws, obtained jobs under false pretenses (possibly displacing an American citizen or legal immigrant worker) and who are unlikely to learn English or pay back taxes?”
Another disingenuous Field Poll question: “Do you favor or oppose creating a temporary worker program for illegal immigrants that would legalize their status and allow them to work in this country?” Using “temporary” is preposterous since once the aliens became “legalized,” they would no longer be “temporary.”
The Center for Immigration Studies recently conducted a national poll using neutral language that avoided presenting respondents with the false choice of either granting aliens legal residency or mass deportation. Of likely voters, 52 percent said they want illegal immigrants living in the United States to return to their home countries, and 64 percent said that they feel enforcement of immigration law has been “too little.”
Enforcement advocates just can’t get a fair shake from the media. The method in which the Bee and other California daily newspapers reported the Field Poll but ignored CIS is the latest, but certainly not the last, example.