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A Gallup poll released this week found that a roughly equal number of Americans want to beef up border security and deal with illegal aliens in the U.S. As blogger Micky Kaus notes, the poll never specifies what “deal with” means but that did not stop main stream media outlets like CNN from trumpeting the good news for advocates of a comprehensive amnesty.

The Gallup poll asked people to choose either a plan for halting the flow of illegal immigrants or developing a plan to deal with immigrants who are currently in the U.S. illegally. Kaus wrote, “What does it mean to ‘deal with’ illegals who are already here? Who knows? Many voters might think it means punish them, or deport them, or facilitate Mitt Romney’s famous ‘self-deportation’? Yet in Gallup’s initially inexplicable typology voters who favor such…solutions somehow get counted on the pro-amnesty side. If Gallup used clearer language–like saying the idea was to “legalize” or even “normalize” current illegals–then it might look as if a lot fewer people backed the MSM’s program.”

The poll found that forty-three percent of those surveyed said Congress’ top priority should be beefing up border security to halt the flow of illegal workers into the country. And it found that 44% said it’s extremely important for the United States to develop a plan to deal with the large number of illegal aliens.

That’s different from polls Gallup conducted in 2011 that found Americans favored border security over dealing with illegal aliens. And CNN played up the change under an article entitled  “Public’s immigration priorities changing.”

Kaus wrote, “See, they don’t want border security anymore! Well, actually they do (43%) … but, hey, not as much as they used to! And it’s true that if you start in 2011, there is a moderate shift down in the number of people who say ‘halting the flow’ is ‘extremely important’ (53% to 43%). But if you start in 2006–when George W. Bush’s amnesty plan failed to pass–there’s been no change. (It was 43% back then too.)” Kaus said the trend since mid-2013 has actually been moving toward favoring the ‘halting the flow’ position.

Kaus continued, “In fact, the chart for Gallup’s ‘forced choice’ question…suggests a simple explanation of the distinctly un-epic ‘shift’ it tracks: When Congress starts to talk seriously about actually making immigration policy–in 2006 and 2007, and after the debate on the Senate Gang of 8 bill heated up in 2013–voters shift to prioritize ‘halting the flow.’ Meanwhile, in 2011 and 2012 the focus was on state laws, like Arizona’s SB 1070,  designed to crack down on illegal immigrants already here–and on Romney’s ‘self-deportation’ remark, which also concerned those ‘currently in the U.S. illegally.’ So, duh, more people…thought the main focus should be on what people were talking about, namely current illegal residents.”

Kaus concluded that Gallup’s findings created a story line tailor-made for an amnesty-sympathetic media.

Read more in the Daily Caller.

Public Opinion
Illegal Immigration
immigration reform

Updated: Fri, Feb 21st 2014 @ 12:55pm EST