Immigration became an increasingly polarized issue over the last few years. Now, loud voices on all sides shout each other down and crowd out any discussion of real solutions. Smears of “amnesty” have tarred numerous politicians, and the idea of dealing sensibly with the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States appears to be anathema for many on the right. The recent Republican presidential debates only confirm how much immigration is a hot-button issue.
But how do ordinary Americans feel about immigration? Five recent polls, run by organizations from across the political spectrum—from Fox News to Latino Decisions—unequivocally illustrate that the vast majority of Americans support smart solutions to immigration reform and reject mass deportation. They support a pathway to citizenship for people who are part of our communities, learn English, pay back taxes, and so forth, and they reject tearing these families apart.
Put simply, these polls illustrate that the ideological extremism of the hard right is well outside the mainstream pragmatism of the American people.
Delving even further into the data, it turns out that no matter who you are—rich or poor; liberal or conservative; a college graduate or not; white, black, or brown; or even a member of the Tea Party—these results still hold true. And they are only the latest in polling that stretches back years, illustrating that America is far more in line with real solutions to immigration reform than are nativist right-wingers.
The bottom line is that Americans understand that something needs to be done to reform our nation’s immigration system, and that any solution to our immigration conundrums must take a realistic look at the 11 million people without status already living in the United States.
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