Immigration: The Issue that Got Away?

America’s political, business, media and academic elites have forced on the rest of us a radical mass immigration regime that we neither wanted nor voted for. When our immigration laws were rewritten in 1965, at the height of the Democratic Party’s power, we were assured that the law would not remake America’s demographics. (That promise was precisely analogous to the assurance, at about the same time, that the Civil Rights Act would not lead to the imposition of quotas.) All polling that I have seen confirms that the current, radical immigration regime is unpopular with the American people. This accounts in part for the downfall of George W. Bush and overwhelmingly for the ascendency of Donald Trump.

Breitbart News is vigorously anti-mass immigration, and has been in the tank for Trump for a long time. Thus, one might be skeptical of the survey that Breitbart News trumpeted in today’s email. Here is how Breitbart describes it:

The poll was conducted by Gravis Marketing, a nonpartisan research firm, in conjunction with Breitbart News Network, and surveyed a random selection of 2,010 registered voters throughout the nation.

You can read about the partnership between Breitbart News and Gravis here. An excerpt:

Gravis Marketing’s accurate polling results have been recognized by multiple media sources in 2016. Bloomberg Politics named Gravis Marketing the most accurate poll during the 2016 primary season but also received an A- grade from Political Pundit Daily at the end of 2015. Gravis’ ability to infuse new data collection methods with remarkably accurate polling samples has rapidly accelerated the firm’s growth and establishes a solid foundation for the new Breitbart / Gravis Poll Series.

With that preface, what are the poll’s results?

By a nearly 6 to 1 margin, U.S. voters believe immigration should be decreased rather than increased.

Every three years, the U.S. admits a population of new immigrants the size of Los Angeles. Sixty three percent of voters said that this figure is too high, whereas only a minuscule 11 percent of voters said that number is not high enough. Only 13 percent of Democrats and Independents— and only 7 percent of Republicans— said immigration should be increased.

By a 25-to-1 margin, voters believe that unemployed American workers should get preference for a U.S. job rather than a foreign worker brought in from another country.

Seventy five percent of voters believe American workers should get U.S. jobs, whereas only 3 percent of voters believe foreign workers should be imported to fill U.S. jobs.

Democrats agreed with this sentiment by a margin of roughly 30-to-1 (69.8 percent who think jobs should go to unemployed Americans whereas only 2.3 percent think foreign labor should be imported). African Americans agree with this sentiment by a margin of 65-to-1 (78.5 percent who think unemployed Americans should get the jobs versus 1.2 percent who think foreign workers should be brought in). Hispanics agree with this sentiment by a margin of 30-to-1 (59.1 percent versus 2.0 percent).

There are roughly 94 million Americans operating outside the labor market today. Yet every year the U.S. admits one million plus foreign nationals on green cards, one million guest workers, dependents, and refugees, and half a million foreign students.

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Three out of four voters believe the nation needs “an immigration system that puts American workers first, not an immigration system that serves the demands of donors seeking to reduce labor costs.”

More than seven out of ten African Americans agreed with the sentiment that the nation’s immigration system should prioritize needs of American workers above donors who want to reduce labor costs.

A majority of U.S. voters (53%) believe “record amounts of immigration into the U.S. have strained school resources and disadvantaged U.S. children.”

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Roughly three out of four voters— including nearly three out of four Democrat voters— believe that “instead of giving jobs and healthcare to millions of refugees from around the world, we should rebuild our inner cities and put Americans back to work.”

African Americans agreed with this sentiment by a 10 to 1 margin (86.3 percent agree versus 8.5 percent disagree). Hispanics agreed by a margin of 5 to 1 (68.9 percent agreed versus 12.6 percent disagreed).

We are living in a time of unprecedented immigration. Currently, the U.S. is home to around 42.2 million legal and illegal immigrants, nearly one-seventh of our population. In any poll I have seen, an overwhelming majority of Americans say that we need less immigration, not more. Yet this seems to be one policy that cannot be implemented, regardless of the voters’ preferences.

Sadly, in the current election cycle the candidate who best represented voters who want a more moderate immigration policy was Donald Trump. At the moment, it seems likely that Trump’s many flaws as a candidate will frustrate, and perhaps discredit, the preference of a large majority of Americans for less immigration. This issue, which is so important and on which so many Americans agree, should have brought a new, more responsive government to Washington. But at the moment, that doesn’t appear likely.

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