In response to my recent blog piece on increasing levels of support for legal immigration,
a couple of readers pointed out a Center for Immigration Studies poll
from 2006 that showed only 2% of the population wanted to increase immigration levels
The poll question is worded like this
There are currently 37 million legal and illegal immigrants in the United States and 1.5 million new legal and illegal immigrants settle in the country each year. Putting aside for a moment the question of legal status and considering only the numbers, do you think the number entering the country is too high, too low, or just about right?
I did not include this poll in my earlier post because, while it did say â€?legality asideâ€?
it was discussing total immigration numbers, not just legal immigration. Hypothetically, one could be opposed to illegal immigration and support increasing legal immigration by say 300,000 people a year and answer â€?increasedâ€?
to the Times
poll and â€?too highâ€?
to the CIS poll without contradicting themselves.
That being said, I doubt there are many who think like that hypothetical man, and most likely the major cause for the discrepancy between the NY Times and CIS polls is that CIS begins by stating current immigration levels, before asking the respondent what they think should be done. The discrepancy suggests that a lot of people are completely ignorant of the levels of immigration into this country, and if they knew it, then they would be more opposed.
I believe this strengthens my earlier argument that our side needs to give more attention to the threat of legal immigration.
Whenever you hear illegal immigration discussed, you always hear the 12 million number, yet I doubt that most Americans know that there are twice as many legal immigrants in this country. If these facts were more publicized, Iâ€™m sure public attention would sway even more in our favor.