Republicans hope to exploit anti-immigration sentiment for political leverage. What they apparently don’t get is that there just isn’t that much of it, as TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira explains in today’s edition of his ‘Public Opinion snapshot’:
The latest evidence comes from a major survey by the Public Religion Research Institute. In that survey, respondents endorsed the view that increasing numbers of immigrants strengthens American society (53 percent) over the view that growing numbers of immigrants undermines traditional American customs and values (42 percent).
And the public has a more open-hearted attitude toward the principles behind the ‘Dream Act’ as well:
In the same survey, the public said, by 57-40, that undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children should be able to gain legal resident status if they join the military or go to college (this is the idea behind the DREAM Act, which conservatives blocked).
The GOP’s deportation hard-liners don’t have a lot of support, either:
Finally, the public overwhelmingly rejected a deportation-oriented approach to solving the country’s illegal immigration problem. They prefer an approach that combines securing our borders with providing an earned path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already here by 62-36.
It appears the GOP has miscalculated that alienating millions of Latino voters to win votes from conservative xenophobes is a sound strategy. More importantly, the data indicates that Dems are on solid ground in supporting a more humane and practicable immigration policy.