The Gang of Eight’s Bill: To Know It Is To Hate It

The Federation for American Immigration Reform commissioned Pulse Opinion Research to conduct polling on key provisions of the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill in seven states: Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia. You can see the results here. In general, they show that if you tell voters what is actually in the bill, they don’t like it.

Let’s take Ohio, a bellwether swing state. This is how FAIR sums up the results:

* 68% oppose granting legal status to illegal aliens before a border security plan is fully implemented, and 32% of voters oppose granting amnesty under any circumstance.

* 74% oppose the discretionary authority given to DHS to legalize aliens with criminal records or gang affiliations, including 52% who “strongly oppose” those provisions.

* 67% oppose provisions in the bill that would significantly increase overall immigration to the U.S., including 46% who are “strongly opposed.”

* 74% oppose the increases in guest workers authorized under the bill, including 42% who said the increases are “much too high.”

They key, of course, is that the poll questions tell voters things they otherwise probably didn’t know about the bill. Take, for instance, the question on the overall level of new immigration authorized by the legislation:

If the bill passed, about 12 million current illegal immigrants would become permanent legal residents – green card holders – within ten years. The bill would also double the number of new green cards we issue to other people over the next decade, to about 22 million. Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose provisions of the bill that could add 34 million new permanent residents and workers to the United States over ten years?

The poll finds that a strong plurality of voters in all seven states are appalled at these massive levels of new, mostly unskilled immigration. But if it weren’t for the pollster–if voters were relying on, say, newspapers or the evening news–they would have no idea that this huge influx in legal unskilled immigrants is part of the bill.

So my principal takeaway is that Republican Senators and Congressmen shouldn’t hesitate to oppose the bill, and shouldn’t be afraid to explain their reasons. The more voters know about what the bill actually contains, the more likely they are to oppose it, strongly.