Tuesday, June 26, 2007

How do Americans feel about illegal immigrants?

I just received the following message as part of an email from the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC):

We have some timely news to share with you. For the past few weeks, AFSC has been conducting the a large, independent study on the U.S. public’s views on immigration issues, and now the results are in. Here are a few key findings:

* The U.S. public strongly supports the idea that “keeping families together should be a priority in our immigration policies”

* The public believes that the broken, outdated immigration system needs fixing, but that more border fences and scapegoating are not the answers.

* Two-thirds of the public supports a legal path to permanent residency and eventual citizenship for all undocumented immigrants who have built a life in this country.

AFSC’s National Immigration Opinion Survey shows that the majority of the public supports more humane and less punitive measures than currently appear in the Senate bill.

Two out of every three Americans think that immigrants who have been working and putting down roots in our communities should not have to live in fear of at any moment being arrested and summarily deported. Two out of every three Americans think it is wrong to have 12 million people among us working and paying taxes but without any rights, vulnerable to exploitation.

Why is the less than one third of Americans who oppose giving legal status to illegal immigrants so much more vocal than the two thirds who support it? If you believe in a compassionate, caring America, rather than a punitive, vindictive one, you need to speak up.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why the preoccupation with illegal activities of people from other countries - and condoning it?

The 'survey' is garbage...you honestly want us to believe that 67% of the people in the United States believe that the (ILLEGAL) immigrants (your description of the survey seems to exclude the word 'illegal') are being picked on?

Dave Barrett said...

anonymous,
"...being picked on?" I don't know how people feel about that. That question was not asked. But people definitely do not believe that people who are working, paying taxes and making lives for themselves and their families here should be rounded up and deported. If you feel that way you are not in the mainstream of public opinion. If you do not believe that that poll is accurate then you will probably be very surprised by the results of upcoming elections.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so you are ok with someone that kills someone else - as long as they are, 'working, paying taxes and making a life for themselves'???

We are a country of LAWS. I think that it is great that these people want in our country and that they are willing to work and try to better themselves - AS LONG AS THEY DO IT WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE LAW!!!!!!!!

There is an uproar because of the guest-worker/ amnesty effort. McCain is out of the running because of his support for it.

During the debates, the press hooked audience members up to electronic monitoring devices and the concensus was that whenever a politician was soft on the illegal immigrant issue - the response was off the charts - against the politician (and against the illegals).

My goodness, read Newsweek, Time, US News...it is a landslide against illegals.

Some pro-illegal group runs a poll and you think that this speaks for America!?

Dave Barrett said...

anonymous,
"This is a country of LAWS" -- yeah, and law breakers. Just try driving exactly at the speed limit sometime and you will see how well Americans obey that law. We created the laws and we break them when they get in the way of what we want to do. If a majority in Congress and the President decide to change the law to retroactively make legal 12 million illegal immigrants we are still just as much a nation of laws as we ever were.

When you talk about the audience at the debates and Newsweek and Time you make my point for me. Why does a minority opinion so dominate the public discourse? It is time for the majority of decent people who are not fearful, cowardly, racist xenophobes to start speaking up.

Anonymous said...

We drive over the speed limit, consequently, anyone, from anywhere, regardless of their past (rapist, drug dealer, terrorist) should be able to enter our country and become a citizen.

Great logic Dave...thank you for helping me understand your position better.

Dave Barrett said...

anonymous,
"anyone, from anywhere, regardless of their past (rapist, drug dealer, terrorist) should be able to enter our country and become a citizen..." Huh? How did you get that from what I said? Maybe some of the fear from your side arises from misconceptions like this.

The proposal is to grant illegal immigrants who have been here and working at legal jobs (not drug dealing, etc.) since before the beginning of the year a visa so that they are no longer subject to arrest and deportation just for being in this country. They would still be subject to all the laws the same as any other legal immigrants and citizens. And, since they are immigrants, if they have committed felonies they would be subject to deportation.
We created the laws. We can keep the ones we want to keep (presumably laws against rape, murder, assault, etc.) and change the ones that are not working for us. THAT is what being a nation of laws is all about.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be nice if the Democrats did not kill the proposed amendment to the Bill stating that felons would not be granted citizenship...

But even if they allowed it, it would just be a law - and you are quite clear on the fact that laws are ok to break.

Dave Barrett said...

anonymous,
If there is a proposed amendment ensuring that no convicted felons would be granted citizenship I would be all for it, but I would think there were already laws like that on the books.

".. laws are ok to break.." Me?!? 75% of the people on the highway are fine with breaking the speeding laws. Every prosecutor in the country occasionally declines to prosecute someone who clearly violated some law or other. It's not just me.

I was just pointing out that you are just posturing when you pretend to think it is unforgiveable for anyone to violate any law when talking about illegal immigrants but probably not at any time. (I bet you have family and friends you would have to shun if you really believed that violating any law at any time was unforgiveable.)

Anonymous said...

Dave, my point is that you are not playing an apples-to-apples game here.

Certainly, laws are broken all the time - hopefully the majority of the time it is an issue of minor infractions.

The united States of America has one of the most open immigration policies in the world - yet you seem to think that our borders should be a free-for-allm wide open. If you don't like the immigration laws, well, 'just come on in anyway.'

It is nice to say, 'they are hard working people just trying to make a living', however, even if this were the case for 80% of the illegals, it is not the case for the balance - that is why there is immigration policy and law.

Matt said...

It seems we are agreed that illegal immigration is against the law. The crux of this argument seems to be a disagreement about the legitimacy of that law and the severity of the infraction.

Is coming into the country without a visa a "minor infraction" like speeding? Or is it more like rape, murder or home invasion?

In my opinion, illegal immigration is a victimless crime and thus should not be a crime at all.

Your opinion might be different.

-Matt

Anonymous said...

Matt, tell that to the families of the people who were in the country 'illegally' and were responsible for 9/11 - victimless?

IF you open the borders to whomever wants to come in, you have the recipe for big trouble. Explain it away however you want, justify it in your mind, but the reality is that when you allow law-abiding people in that only want to better their life - you also get the terrorists and the criminals.

The U.S. must have an enforceable immigration policy with teeth.

Matt said...

I'm sorry, Anonymous, I thought we were talking about immigration. I don't think the 9-11 attackers killed anybody by coming to the United States. (They all had visas, by the way.)

Obviously hijacking an airplane and intentionally crashing it into a building is and should be illegal. Blowing up a truck full of fertilizer next to a federal building is legitimately illegal too. The immigration status of the perpetrators is irrelevant.

Only an idiot or a demagogue would conflate immigration and 9-11. Anonymous, which are you?

Dave Barrett said...

Matt,
Absolutely right! All the 9/11 terrorist had entered this country legally. Even though some of them had overstayed their visas by the time of the attack, none of the proposed border security measures would have had prevented 9/11 in any way.
Terrorism and illegal immigrants crossing our borders are completely separate issues with nothing in common except the feeling in some people's minds that they are both examples of things out of control.

Anonymous said...

Dave, back to your original post...it seems as though your silly little poll may not be reflective of even the people that post on your liberal blog site.

And if it is not reflective of the beliefs of people here, then it certainly is way off base for the public at large.

Dave Barrett said...

If you read the post it was talking about a poll conducted by the American Friends Service Committee. It was not my poll. That poll matched other poll results I have seen that asked Americans about what should be done about illegal immigrants who have been working here and putting down roots in our communities. They all agree that about 70% of Americans when asked that question that way agree that illegal immigrants who are making lives here and staying out of trouble should be given a chance to get on a path to citizenship.
If you do not believe this I have a feeling you are going to be very surprised at some election results in upcoming elections. If you think the public at large largely shares the view that all illegal immigrants should be rounded up and deported I predict that you will be very surprised how few votes candidates who campaign on that view receive.

I further predict that the way the Republican Party has become associated in the public's mind with these attitudes toward immigrants (even though many Republicans such as George W. Bush do not feel that way) will be a disaster to the future election prospects of all Republicans.

Anonymous said...

Dave,

Don't you understand that the 'amnesty' bill is a Republican (Bush) bill?

The masses are against it, so much so that many Republicans went against Bush to save their very political life.

You apparently are too close to this issue somehow to see that the public is widely against the 'amnesty' for illegals.

Listen to talk radio.
Watch the politicians run from the issue.

Heck, if anything should tell you what voters (of both parties) feel about this, look at the defeat of the bill.

Do you really think that the weazels in Congress care about anything other than getting reelected? They voted this down because they had to - as the voters are against it.

I will post no more on this subject, as you are seeing whatever you wish to see. You take one poll by a pro-illegal group and think that it is gospel. Don't you understand that any group can get a poll to say anything that they want?

Dave Barrett said...

anonymous,
If you feel that talk radio gives you a better understanding of how the country as a whole feels about an issue than polls conducted by reputable polling organizations then you are in for a very rude awakening come next election day.

Anonymous said...

You go ahead and put your faith in a group that polled looking for a specific response.

I believe that the pressure that legislators received from the voters confirms the talk radio rants.

Anonymous said...

i don't know how many of the people writing in have to deal with the negative aspects of the illegal immigration issue but living in southern calif., it's a daily problem, it's like watching an unchecked cancer, it just keeps getting worse. i would never support anyone who is for amnesty for illegals after watching what they have done to our once beautiful county, it's a disgrace. no more believing that our government will protect us, as they won't and the arrogance in which the offenders are demanding their way is incredibly obnoxious. your poll is a joke

Dave Barrett said...

anonymous,
I was going to say again that it is not my poll, but since I have already said that a few times before I guess saying it again probably is pointless.

Anonymous said...

dave and matt, my little darlings, it is apparent to me that either you are not living in or around areas that have been decsimated by the illegal situation and you haven't had to watch as your culture is being taken over or you enjoy crap. when your quality of life suffers as a direct result of people who shoudn't even be in the country in the first place, it is human nature to react with negativity unless of course you are a complete moron. get a grip with reality, and by the way, the reason the poll is being attributed to you is because it is the one YOU chose to use in your story.

Dave Barrett said...

anonymous,
Well, I guess it is possible that I am fortunate enough to live in a part of the country where the number of recent immigrants is lower that it is where you are (although we have a lot here). How exactly are they destroying the culture? I am having a hard time envisioning it. Are they living in cardboard boxes in front of your house so that you have to step over them all the time? Do they talk loudly during the movie? What?

Anonymous said...

well dave, first of all let me congratulate you on being so fortunate as to not know what i am talking about but if the illegal immigration issue continues to get worse, you soon will. i will attempt to explain to you, even though it seems to be fruitless as you have already decided to accept the illegal situation as being alright with you. when you have lived in an area for your entire life and lived with many immigrants from all over the world including english, german, hispanic, italian, french, japanese, chinese etc. and most have assimilated and learned to speak the language and accepted the ways of the country in which they have chosen to live, it is a good thing, maybe because they have had to go through a more difficult process to become legal, they respect and appreciate it more. then there are those who come into the country illegally and start demanding things and all along you are noticing that the crime climbs, graffiti pops up more and more in the neighborhoods (perhaps you like that look) a whole lot of gang activity, insurance for medical care goes up because of all the uninsured, overcrowded schools so your child doesn't get the quality of schooling he or she should. an overall trashing of neighborhoods because the once green lawns are replaced with dirt as they like that look because it reminds them of where they come from and all while speaking spanish, these are just some of the reasons illegals are a problem. we have plenty of legal people who have children that they can not afford, we don't need to be paying for illegals overabundance of children as they don't care because they know they will be taken care of by our country. there are now, beautiful old towns fifteen minutes away, which were once lived in and loved by people who were here legally but have now been driven out by fear of the rising gang situations. the storefronts are advertised only in spanish and the streets are littered with filth, are you catching on yet dave or is the reality still managing to escape you. i would not wish the problem on anyone and yet maybe that is the only way you will grasp the enormity of the problem. good luck.

Dave Barrett said...

anonymous,
Yes, I see now. That language and point of view is very familiar. In the '50s and '60s I heard similar descriptions of blacks. I think in the 1880s and 1890s they said similar things about Irish, Italian and Jewish immigrants.

Anonymous said...

like i said, you have already proven that it is all right with you to break the laws and you obviously don't mind if someone comes in and takes away what you care about which also says a lot about you, none of it good. for you to attempt to make this a racial issue just shows how ignorant you are. it would be hard to find someone who has spent decades in this area, not to have friends who are mexican this is not what we are talking about here and you hopefully are bright enough to realize that. you just can't defend the indefensible. there are plenty of legal mexicans who feel the same way about the illegals that i do. you are one clueless human being and just maybe you might want to approach an issue that you actually know about and leave this one to the more experienced.

Dave Barrett said...

Anonymous,
The only people threatening to take away things I care about are people like you. I care about an America where people are judged not by the color of their skin but by the contest of their character. I care about America as a society which is continually being renewed and energized by new members who bring new traditions and outlooks, enriching us all in the process. I care about an America as a beacon of freedom and hope in the world.

You are in siege mode, hunkered down, worried about people who might want to take what you have. That's a terrible way to live. I feel sorry for you.

Anonymous said...

you are so silly and as much as i would like to have a knowledgable and mature conversation with you, you are obviously unequipped and as i have a life i will not be able to continue this silliness. you refuse to even address any of the facts that have been put before you on the subject but look at it this way, you will always have teddy 'chappaquiddick' kennedy on your side as he's another one that doesn't have a lot of respect for the law either, morally of otherwise. maybe you could ask him, the next time you need a ride. the last word shall be yours.....