Many of the elite national TV and radio networks and newspapers have reacted in horror at the idea of cutting legal immigration from around a million a year to around a half-million. Draconian! UnAmerican! Violating our Statue of Liberty immigration policy! Threatening a collapse in our economy!
It's a little discouraging to hear and watch how much your and our point of view is marginalized, isn't it?
But NumbersUSA has just released a national poll of 1,000 likely voters in next year's congressional mid-term elections that shows the only thing really controversial with voters about the RAISE Act may be that most think a cut to a half-million is not big enough!
The poll found that 46% want annual immigration reduced to EITHER A QUARTER-MILLION OR NONE AT ALL and 62% support cuts to 500,000 or less.
By the way, I have always preferred a level around a quarter-million. But because of circumstances driving hundreds of thousands of overseas marriages each year, I think Cotton and Perdue are cutting about as far in the RAISE Act as is politically feasible for now. (I am disappointed that the Act leaves employer-based Green Cards at 140,000, but I'll write more about that at another time.)
After President Trump stood with the authors of the RAISE Act at the White House last Wednesday to endorse the 50% immigration reduction, I've been doing media interviews nearly non-stop. Most of the journalists have been clear that they can't imagine such a radical proposal ever passing Congress.
My response to them is that it will be a huge up-hill battle, but that it is possible to pass this bill by waging unrelenting grassroots pressure because the new polling shows the American people want the changes.
Can we trust these poll results, and what do they really mean?
Let's start with the wording:
POLL QUESTION: Current federal policy automatically adds about one million new legal immigrants each year, giving all of them lifetime work visas. Which is closest to the number of lifetime immigrant work visas the government should be adding each year -- none, 250,000, half a million, one million, one and a half million, two million or more than two million?
The question helps identify how voters might respond to candidates who talk about legal immigration in the context of jobs issues. The question reminds voters that immigration is -- among other things -- about adding workers to the country and that being an immigrant means getting a lifetime work authorization to compete in the U.S. labor market.
The pollsters said the responses collected on July 24-25 have the very low margin of sampling error of 3 percentage points. Pulse Opinion Research, LLC, is an independent public opinion research firm using automated polling methodology and procedures licensed from Rasmussen Reports, LLC. NumbersUSA commissioned the survey.
Congressional Republican leaders who lean more toward increasing than reducing immigration numbers will need to be forced to look at off-the-charts support for deep cuts among their base of conservatives, evangelicals, older voters and those who live in small cities, towns and rural areas.
But both Parties will need to consider these swing groups and their preference for cuts to a half-million or less:
- Independents (57% want half-million or less; 28% want a million or more).
- The ratio for moderates (57%-30%), Catholics (64%-22%), those living in Suburbs (58%-28%), union households (69%-19%), those without a college degree (78%-14%).
Appealing to those swing groups by supporting deep immigration cuts shouldn't hurt Democrats with their base groups which support cuts to a half-million or less by these margins:
- Democrats (53%-30%), Liberals (50%-34%), Non-Christians (53%-32%), those living in major cities (58%-24%), younger adults (51%-35%).
That support across so many groups of Americans for immigration reduction may be influenced by what the conservative Republican Senator Cotton said this week that sure sounded like the late, great liberal Democrat Congresswoman Barbara Jordan:
Cotton disagreed with those who see our current immigration of a million a year as a "symbol of America's virtue and generosity." Instead, he sees a million a year "as a symbol we're not committed to working-class Americans and we need to change that."
That 78%-14% spread for deep cuts among Americans without a college degree looks like a hearty "amen."
ROY BECK is President & Founder of NumbersUSA
Updated: Thu, Aug 10th 2017 @ 3:03pm EDT