I’ve never seen an issue so misrepresented in the press as immigration. Pundits–even, shamefully, some Republican pundits–are trying to hustle Republican Congressmen into voting for the Gang of Eight bill, or something like it, by claiming that it is somehow a political necessity. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Virtually every element of the Senate immigration bill is anathema to a majority of voters.
The most important thing that the Senate bill would do is to increase the flow of legal immigration by somewhere between 30 and 60 million new immigrants, over and above existing law, over the next 10 years. Is that objective popular with the voters? Of course not. Gallup, in a survey conducted between June 13 and July 5, found that an overwhelming majority of Americans would rather keep immigration at current levels or decrease it, rather than increase immigration at all–let alone by 30 to 60 million new immigrants, 90% unskilled:
Among independents, an overwhelming 76% want legal immigration levels to be either the same or lower, while only 22% want legal immigration to increase. Even among Democrats, only 29% want any increase in immigration. If Gallup were to ask how many want an additional 30 million to 60 million legal immigrants over the next decade, overwhelmingly low-skilled, my guess is that fewer than 5% of all respondents would say Yes.
So the idea that Republicans should fear opposing the Gang of Eight’s bill–on political grounds!–is absurd. Their task is simple: they need to explain to their constituents what the Senate bill actually says. Most voters have probably heard only vague, feel-good descriptions from the Democratic Party media. But if voters start to learn what the Senate bill actually contains, they will thank Republican Congressmen, not for compromising with the Senate bill, but for killing it as dead as a doornail.