We’ve closed the poll on immigration policy at Power Line News. The final results are really no different from what we saw the first day. We asked the question:
What should be our highest priority in formulating policies on immigration?
With nearly 13,000 votes cast, here are the results:
Strengthening control of our borders to prevent possible terrorists and criminals from entering illegally: 45% (5,843)
Erecting a wall and stricter border controls to stop non-English speaking immigrants who are not interested in assimilating: 33% (4,251)
Cracking down on employers to prevent illegal immigrants from taking jobs and driving down the wages available to native-born Americans: 11% (1,363)
Facilitating immigration by skilled, educated foreigners who want to become citizens: 5% (641)
Making the American Dream available to as many people from foreign countries as possible, regardless of how they come here: 3% (415)
Providing a path to citizenship for the illegal aliens who are already here: 2% (224)
Attracting low-wage workers through a guest worker program, to keep our economy competitive: 1% (142)
Continuing our present emphasis on permitting immigration by relatives of immigrants who are already here: 0% (36)
These results don’t demand much commentary. They show overwhelming support among mainstream conservatives for the policy of “Enforcement First.” The highest priority, by an overwhelming margin, is getting control of our borders. Conservatives are relatively evenly split on whether the more important purpose is to keep out terrorists or to protect our society and culture against those with no wish to assimilate, but either way, the policy preference is the same: restore the significance of our borders. There is also considerable support for a crackdown on employers, which many see as the most effective way to reduce the lure of illegal immigration.
It is striking, to say the least, how little support there is for other immigration priorities. A mere 2% think our highest priority should be providing a path to citizenship for the illegals who are already here. What I take to be a fair paraphrase of the Wall Street Journal’s position scores even lower, at 1%. And there is no support–none–for the policy of giving priority to importing the relatives of those already here.
The readers of this site are an excellent cross-section of mainstream conservatism. Immigration is not an issue that we have pushed heavily over the years, so no one can argue that our readership is self-selected to be unrepresentative on the subject. And yet the results couldn’t be clearer.
We will make sure that Republicans in Congress are fully apprised of these data. (In principle, Democrats should care too; but I don’t understand anything about what they are doing on the issue, and, in any event, we have a good deal more influence on the Republicans.) With a tough election cycle coming up in just seven months, it makes no sense for Republican candidates to ignore the strong and almost unanimous views of their own party’s base.